When Justice is More than Equity
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Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.
4 Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. 5 For we are each responsible for our own conduct.
6 Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them.
7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. – Galatians 6:1-10
There are three situations in my life that I yearn for justice. Two are financial. One is in the area of human relations. I’ll not go on a march seeking it. They are not the “No Justice No Peace” kinds of things. But I would love to have the financial scales balanced. And I pray for the human relation to be set right. Most often we think of justice as a matter of balanced scales. Good weighing equally on both sides of the equation.
But here I see three ways beyond balanced scales that justice is reflected by God’s people. Justice from the perspective of God is far more than balanced scales. In fact the notion starts with righteousness, which is a matter of faith. Genesis 15:6 is not a one-off. We are counted righteous by faith. And here we have faith expressing itself in three dimensions.
- Humility and willing to help others
- Willingness to carry our own load
- Persevering in doing good
All of this is sustained by those who teach about God’s justice. This also reminds me of Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Naturally, if everyone lived by these values and behaviors, all of life would be better. In fact the three areas of my life for which I wish justice would be resolved. But the results of this kind of justice are more far-reaching. These values touch far more than balancing the scales of right and wrong.
I thank God for all those who through the years have taught me the word of God, pointing to me the essential foundation of God’s grace in Jesus, opening my eyes to the significance of God’s reign and rule in Jesus – a gracious reign and rule of faith – that shows itself in a life of humility, kindness, and true justice. We learn of this in the life of Jesus, and are recipients of his justice through faith. While we flinch and falter in our quest, he did not ever do so. And he is our justice, our righteousness, our salvation, and source of humility and lovingkindness…through faith.