We have in the last two weeks contemplated on the cardinal virtues. We started with Prudence. Then we moved on to Fortitude. In this post, we’d be considering, Justice, another of the cardinal virtues.
We live in societies, and actually in times in which the matter of Justice has been brought into sharp focus, perhaps more than any other time in recent history. From the Black Lives Matter movement and Critical Race theory discussions in the West to the issues of END SARS in Subsaharan Africa, the issues in China and the fresh in our memories, the clash between Israel and Palestine.
Maybe I’ve gone too far, let’s come to times when you have been victimized, your rights trampled upon, when someone ‘rear-ended’ your car and drove away, knowing fully well that ‘nothing will happen. And so on.
Our society is filled with many such experiences that make us ask: Is there Justice anywhere?
My intention at this time however is to consider Justice as a quality possessed by an individual. A sense of Justice.
To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
The Hebrew concept of Justice is quite interesting. The word that is translated as Justice is also used for rightness. For Righteousness. And this is quite significant. It means that when the Scriptures speak of Justice, the matter of righteousness is carried along. And it stands to reason. Can we talk about justice and ignore righteousness. Hardly. For even if a man intends to personalize his sense of Justice, the poke of righteousness will bust his bubble, and can scarcely stand cross-examination. His sense of Justice will turn out to be unrighteousness, hence ceasing to be true justice.
Another sense in which justice is presented is Equity.
Equity is defined as freedom from bias or favoritism. Justice, therefore, is also to act without partiality, without respect to the person of persons. This is not the same as disrespecting persons. The golden rule ought to be a rule of thumb guide herein. It has often been misunderstood and misapplied.
James 2:1 My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people more than others?
James 2:2 For instance, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in shabby clothes.
James 2:3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well,
James 2:4 doesn’t this discrimination show that you are guided by wrong motives?
James 2:8 Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey our Lord’s royal command found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
James 2:9 But if you pay special attention to the rich, you are committing a sin, for you are guilty of breaking that law.
And then we can see, why justice is a virtue that ought to be embodied especially by the believer. Because, the faith of our Lord Jesus ought not to be held alongside injustice. Alongside unrighteousness.
Man outside of Christ can advertise his sense of Justice, but history assures us that when men do what is right in their own eyes, the result is usually evil in compounded form. And it stands to reason. Our sense of Justice outside of Christ is tainted and corrupted. Our righteousness are as filthy rags. We aren’t naked. But we need new clothes.