SEEKING JUSTICE

Is there any justice in the world? What place should we have in bringing justice into the world? If you were to launch a study of the Old Testament prophets it would become obvious quickly that God is deeply concerned about justice in the world. In Isaiah 1 God challenged the people of Israel to be to seek justice. He named things like caring for the poor, the widows and those who are the object of abuse. In Micah 6 the prophet asked the question “With what shall I come before the Lord and bow before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves? Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O man what is good; and what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

One of the primary sins God challenged the Israelites about was not caring for the less fortunate in the world. One of the regular contributions or tithes that God required of his people was one to care for the poor. When Isaiah foretold the coming of the Messiah into the world in Isaiah 61:1-3 he said, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Jesus declared that he had come to fulfill the prophesy.

So what are we to do to bring justice to the world? Often it seems that our plan for bringing justice is to elect the political candidates who will pass some new law to provide this justice. Sometimes the country as a whole can do things that will bring some justice into the world. In some things the government is the very best one to bring justice. For example when those who commit crimes are arrested for their crimes and the government provides a way to punish the evildoer and to keep them away from the rest of society. But it should be noted that God placed the visiting or care of prisoners as a way of doing justice in the world. When Jesus pictured the judgment scene in Matthew 25:31-46 one of the things mentioned was, “I was in prison and you visited me.”

Justice demands that crimes be punished. But our system for dealing with criminals is badly flawed. Often the idea is just to put the criminal away with other criminals and do nothing to change their way of thinking or acting so that when they are released they are more hardened as criminals than they were when they were arrested to begin with. Surely there is a better way that that.

All over the world there are huge problems with orphans who have been abandoned by parents or left behind by those who have no ability to care for them. In this country so many of the children are growing up in broken homes with an absentee father, often it is the case that the parent has nothing to do with the child. As a nation we have not helped the situation but often promoted it by offering more welfare money for each child born into a family and cutting the payments if the dad is present. No one will solve this problem by simply passing some new law. But we can play a part in the solution by getting involved in helping mentor the children growing up in such a situation. We can provide ways to promote marriage and whole families instead of having a system that promotes an immoral life.

All over the world there is a huge problem of drug abuse that destroys the lives of those using the drugs and of the children either born in such a situation or being brought up in it. What can we do? We could stop watching and laughing at television programs and movies that glamorize the use of drugs. We can help one person we know who has a drug problem.

The truth is justice in needed in a thousand ways in just about every community. It can’t get better by our wringing our hands and talking about how bad everything is. God loves the hurting. One of Jesus greatest stories was of a Samaritan who saw a man beside the road who had been robbed, beaten and left for dead. He risked his own life to go to the man, bind up his wounds, carry him to an inn and take care of him. Even when he had to leave he gave the innkeeper money to take care of him, saying if that wasn’t enough he would pay him more when he came back through that way. Jesus said that was what it meant to love ones neighbor.

The religious leaders of the day talked much about helping those in need but it was just talk. What part are you playing in seeking justice in the world? Are you personally involved or just wanting someone else to do something? It is time for each person to find their way of making a difference for good.

About leoninlittlerock

Preaching minister for Central church of Christ in Little Rock. Author of over 20 books including: When a Loved one Dies, Spiritual Development, Skid Marks on the Family Drive, Challenges in the church, To Know Christ and A Drink of Living Water.
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