Justice in an Unjust World
You don't have to look far to see injustice. The aftermath of injustice can be seen in the faces of men and women facing the reality of abuse, in the faces of victims of mass shootings that seem relentless, in the faces of those who fall prey to human trafficking.
But on March 14, 2018, students in schools across America stood up against injustice by walking out of their classrooms and silently standing for those who had died in the attack in Parkland on Valentine's Day.
Whatever side you may fall on in this debate, what is so tragic and heartbreaking is that these are kids. Young men and young women have to come to terms with what they feel and believe at an age when they should be concerned about their studies or what to wear to school, not, “Will I die today?” Teenagers should be able to focus on where they're going to college and on other fun activities like hanging out with friends and going to prom, not wondering how they can stop radically-minded people from making their decision to live or die for them.
No matter where you stand, we all stand together on one very important thing: we want justice. Justice looks different for different people, but we all want it, and we can see clearly when it is absent.
Justice is the idea that what is right or fair is carried out so that wrong is accounted for and what is right is enacted or restored.
Justice is when we face the consequences for our actions and learn from our mistakes.
Justice is when we are freed from the clutches of the injustice of another.
Justice is when we feel safe to live our lives without the fear of being infringed upon by an outside force that we cannot control.
Justice carries with it the idea of righteousness; therefore, God is the true justice in which I believe.
The Bible contains promises in relation to Christ as our coming justice.
“He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them - he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widows, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked” (Psalm 146:6-9).
But of course, Christ has not yet returned, and I have seen injustice in my own life and wondered, What can I do? I want to do something, but my words feel cheap. My thoughts feel like they're just wind, and it does nothing to cure my desire to help change the world and help the oppressed. How can I take the words of the prophet Isaiah and activate them from the stagnant energy of wanting to help, but not knowing what to do?
Learn to Do What Is Good
One simple answer: learn to do what is good, in every simple aspect of our lives; in bringing the orphan home for dinner or giving them a home and a family; in caring for the widow crippled by the loss of their life partner, unsure of how to continue; in being vigilant about when we see abuse to call out that abuse and not stand for it in our homes, our schools, our churches, and in our communities; for this is what the prophet Isaiah alludes to when he says,
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).
Of course, the only way we can truly learn to do what is good, to pursue justice, to correct the oppressor, to defend the rights of the fatherless, and to plead the widow's cause is to have our hearts changed by the love of the Father for us. Having our hearts changed by the love of the Father first requires us to come to terms with our own injustice, our sins against God, and how justice dictates that we be put to death (Romans 6:23), but realizing that God chose to show us kindness by sending us His son, Jesus.
"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).
He showed us grace so that we could then join his mission to free the oppressed in the world and pursue justice, just as Jesus did in his time on earth. One of the most radical things Jesus did was walk into the temple and declare his mission (Luke 4:18-19), and then when he died and rose again, he left that mission to us as his hands and feet, to spread his kingdom and make disciples, and making disciples means going into the dark places and rescuing those in captivity with the hope and love of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Wrong Will Be Right
My heart beats harder at each new injustice in the news, and I know that it is God who is troubling the water of my soul, causing this unrest down within me. In this unrest, I know him more by knowing his heart and carrying out his mission on earth.
May we pursue justice, and in days we feel comfortable in our own lives remember what Christ did for us. He took our unrighteousness, our injustices against him, and put them on himself on a cross so that we could know freedom, so that we could know him, and so that thousands of years later, we could help him further his mission of justice.
It is no secret that there are Christian undertones in C.S. Lewis' series The Chronicles of Narnia, which is why I think it is safe here for us to to close with a reference regarding justice from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe:
Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.