The Justice We Seek

It’s an extraordinary time when we can no longer distinguish adults from children, government from parents, men from women. This confusion spills into the culture too: is it art or witchcraft, dance or porn, free speech or hate speech, news or opinion. Instead of outcry, instead of demanding hard evidence, allowing freedom to discuss, agree or dissent, there is approval of violence, suppression of conscience, tampering with the law, and the threatening of lives. It’s being done for justice. In short, as long as it is for justice, for the greater good, then any means is justified. As a result, we need to examine both the means and the end!

How did our pursuit of justice become like this? Could it be because we have also changed our approach, understanding and attitude towards the law? The law is no longer anchored on the truth but context and outcome become the basis. This is a clear departure from the Judeo-Christian foundation of the law. If the moral compass is broken, if it is justice without God in it, then what is it and who is in it? A select few?

From the dawn of civilization, laws have been drawn to preserve order and protect individual lives. These laws may need occasional revisions to strengthen them. But all laws talk about rights and seek accountability for justice. Justice seeks whether I have my rights and others’ too. It pursues whether I have given my due too. Justice demands accountability where I am not judged for what I have not received, but for what I do with what I have, no matter how small it is.

Unique to Christian law is almost all countries that adopt it prosper. “Have I done my responsibility of loving my neighbor as myself?” is the core of the second half of the Ten Commandments. A humane society is a just society. It is built on looking out for one another. In case you haven’t noticed, the commandments address the individual’s duties. And thus God’s justice starts with the individual. not the group. It assumes that each person is responsible for knowing the law, self-examining, and prioritizing the other over oneself. It is humane to aspire to contribute to the whole, using whatever one has. Stealing, murder, slander, disobedience to parents, lying, and covetousness all betray this and the perpetrator is held accountable, if not immediately, later.

Someone once described a scene in hell in contrast to heaven. In hell, each one keeps others at arm’s length with long forks, making it hard to feed even oneself. It’s hellish. In heaven, everyone feeds one another. The short or long fork does not matter.

A good lawgiver will also give just punishment to stem lawlessness. Participation, association, and consent are clearly stipulated so degrees of guilt and punishment are measured accordingly. What happens when solutions are subjective, inappropriate, or inadequate? It is like using a straw boat when compared to the heavy-duty ark built by God awarded to those who believe in God’s justice. It is unjust to design policies that endanger the law-abiding citizens but reward the vile, the fool and the ungodly.

The justice we seek is the justice we’ll get, if not immediately, then later. I know that justice delayed is justice denied. But that a fair judge would be patient, not rushed. The flood did not happen until after a century of warning was issued through Noah. God’s seeming delayed judgment was not due to softness or neglect but to give each person ample time to repent. Don’t we all want mercy? Probably what we want is mercy, not justice. And God is capable of giving both.

Quick check: Is there an aspect of God’s justice you would like to have more of in our society?

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