Saturday, November 6, 2021

Justice Is Ingrained in Our Hearts

We hear the word “justice” a lot these days. And that’s a good thing, since justice is a crucial part of civilized society. In fact, human beings instinctively desire justice. Just think about an expression we hear all the time: “That’s not fair!” This passionate lament is offered by little children, senior citizens, and everybody in between. Whenever someone yells, “That’s not fair!” he or she is expressing a desire for justice. 
The Bible also talks about justice. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow” (Is 1:17). And the prophet Micah wrote, “You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do justice and love goodness, and walk humbly with your God” (Mic 6:8).

What exactly is justice? Here’s a simple definition: Justice means people behave in a way that is fair, equal, and balanced for everyone, so that everyone receives what they deserve.

Justice is such an ingrained concept in human nature, that even when, for example, two guys conspire to rob a bank, if one of them tries to take a larger portion of the stolen money, the other one will shout, “That’s not fair!”

We hear a lot nowadays about social justice, economic justice, and racial justice, and rightfully so. In many ways our society is better than it was, say, 100 years ago. But there still is plenty of room for improvement.

When thinking about justice, consider these situations: 1) a six-year-old boy gets hit by a stray bullet during a drive-by shooting and dies. The shooter is never arrested. 2) A mother of three young children gets cancer and dies a painful death at age 35. 3) After working hard for four decades, a man looks forward to a long, relaxing retirement, but a week after he stops working he is struck and killed by lightning on the golf course.

With each of these scenarios, we instinctively cry out, “That’s not fair!” And our anger and frustration is greater depending on how many potential years of life are snatched away from the unfortunate soul. 
Here’s a theological angle on the topic of justice: If there is no God, there will never be justice. Ever. 

Think about it. If there is no God, and therefore no life after death, when a six-year-old is senselessly killed, there is no way to make it right. Even if the shooter is arrested and imprisoned, that hardly makes the situation fair, since the little boy’s future has been irretrieveably lost. When there is no guilty party to punish, as with the young mother and the retiree in our examples, it’s still unfair and frustrating.

Only if there is a Heaven can we hope for real justice. Our faith tells us that Heaven is the place where every tear will be wiped away, and all the wrongs on earth will be made right.

Even when earthly justice is achieved — for example, the perpetrators are imprisoned and their victims compensated, and opportunities are equal and fair for everyone — there is still the great and terrible injustice that haunts us all: death. 
As a wise man once said, “No matter how many years you live, you’re gonna be dead a whole lot longer.” If everything we work so hard to achieve in this life disappears like the morning dew upon the moment of our death, how is that just? Talk about being unfair!

Justice is good and true and beautiful. It is a concept that’s been ingrained into human nature by our Creator. Therefore, we must strive to seek justice in all we do, both personally and as a civilized society. But true and lasting and perfect justice is only possible with a righteous God and His glorious Heaven. 

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