WEEK 1, DAY 6: JUSTICE
Scripture Reference: Mark 6:14-29
The German philosopher, Hegel, described how truth is not found in the thesis or the antithesis but the synthesis which draws the two together. How can we reconcile seeking justice in a world filled with injustice?
Justice becomes a buzzword because our world is defined by its archnemesis – Injustice. Injustice is experienced in varying degrees from the time we are born till the day we die. The child at school whose lunch money is stolen on the playground doesn’t know the name of it, but they know the experience. The qualified employee passed for promotion, again, because he or she is not in the boss’s “inner circle” recognizes the stink of injustice. The woman walking quickly to her car at night knows we live in a world filled with injustice. The irony is that we have school rules to prevent playground bullies, unions form to prevent workplace abuses of power, and we have laws to prevent assault. Yet, these don’t seem to stop the cycle of injustice.
Responding to Injustice
One response might be to respond with an eye for an eye. We would say “only when the aggressor feels my pain will they stop!” In his book, Strength to Love, Martin Luther King jr. gave a God’s eye perspective of Justice.
“Jesus eloquently affirmed from the cross a higher law. He knew that the old eye-for-an-eye philosophy would leave everyone blind. Jesus did not seek to overcome evil with evil. He overcame evil with good. Although crucified by hate, he responded with aggressive love.” Strength to Love p. 33.
God knows our pain and he knows the wrongs we have endured. He knows them intimately because he experienced the ultimate injustice at the hands of his own creation. God’s way stops the cycle of injustice. He calls HIs followers to a higher standard. God calls us to turn from our human arrogance. He calls us to live by his standard. Love the ones that treat us well and love the ones that persecute us. Laws can prevent behaviors, but they can never change the heart. Only loving-kindness can, only loving-forgiveness can.
The prophet, Micah, reminds us that we must live in a lifestyle of mercy, of love, and of justice. Loving our enemies doesn’t preclude us from seeking justice through our courts, through our law enforcement, or through the negotiating table. What a justice lifestyle reminds us of is that God is love. God is mercy. God is justice.
In the end, God is the one who will set all things right. Christians remember that God is the judge. God is ultimately in control. Even if someone never receives justice through earthly means, God provides justice in the end. When the cosmic conflict comes to an end we’ll see that God’s dealing were just. We’ll see each person having received their just reward. This mindset is what compelled David to shout out for judgment, “Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation…” (Psalm 43, NIV). God’s justice will set all things right. And, because of God’s mercy, I know that even though I deserved death he provided a way for life. Laws can only regulate behavior. But, God’s love can change the heart.
— Prescott Khair, Bowling Green Seventh-Day Adventist
Take time to contemplate:
- Read: Mark 6:14-29
- How does God want me to respond to his justice, love, and mercy?
God, this world is filled with injustice. It wasn’t your plan. Your way is justice. Your way is love and mercy. I pray for your kingdom on earth. God, I pray for your ways to overthrow our human methods. I surrender my life and my desires to you. I ask you change my hard, human heart. Let me show justice love in my actions. Let your will be done on earth. I follow you because I know you are good. I follow you because I know you will set all things right.