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July 19, 2023

Pursuing Justice With Wisdom and Compassion

There’s a tension when it comes to justice that we have to wrestle with: the tension of compassion and judgment, but also the tension of the individual and the community. Life isn’t black and white, and the Proverbs make this clear. So, in a complicated and broken world, how can we become people of justice?

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Justice Flows from God.

God created humanity. Therefore, wisdom and justice come from Him. He is the ultimate law-giver and arbiter of truth.

Justice serves to align the world in harmony with the law of God. It’s the idea of putting things back to the way they should have been all along.

Imago Dei

To understand how things are “supposed to be,” you have to look at humanity in light of who God is. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

“Imago Dei” is a Latin phrase that translates to “image of God.” Humans actually show off God’s divine nature through our ability to embrace the unique characteristics we’ve been given. It’s like we’re little reflections of Him, each with our own unique traits.

Justice is acknowledging that image- bearing quality in all of humanity.

As beings created in His likeness, we all possess inherent equity. When there’s a discrepancy there, we have a responsibility to rectify it.

The Bible has much to say about justice, and we find that God is deeply concerned when His people fail to pursue justice. Jesus himself emphasized the importance of justice during His teachings. But here’s the catch – how do we hold justice alongside compassion? Can we seek justice for wrongdoers while still loving our enemies?

Balancing Judgment and Compassion

It’s crucial to note that justice doesn’t mean taking vengeance into our own hands. Jesus’ approach to the Romans and the Jews showcases the tension between retributive and restorative justice.

While he condemned the wrongdoing of the Jews, He also showed compassion and forgiveness toward those who lacked understanding. This calls us to focus on restoring harmony and putting things back as they should be, rather than on who “deserves” what.

Justice Happens in Relationship

True justice cannot be done at a distance; it requires relationship. Engaging in nuanced and difficult conversations demands authentic connections with those you’re engaging.

The biblical story emphasizes the restoration of the community, and that calls for a deeper understanding of individual experiences.

People often find themselves in arguments they don’t need to be in because they think they’re doing justice by speaking harshly. We would do better to build a relationship before trying to confront people with truth or harsh judgment.

Adopting a generous and open-handed approach to life aligns with God’s character as a generous host. When we embrace this mindset, God blesses us in ways beyond imagination, enabling us to care for others in a holistic way.

How Can We Truly Pursue Justice?

It may sound counterintuitive, but becoming a person of justice doesn’t happen by pursuing justice; it happens by pursuing wisdom. The source of all wisdom is the Lord.

Get to know the Lord as much as you can. The more you understand who God is, the wiser you become and the more just you will be.

When you learn who God is, you can’t help but view people differently.

The Already, But Not Yet

We live in an in-between place – the period between Jesus’ first and second coming. Though God has already brought forth justice in one sense, we still reside in a broken world.

However, we can take comfort in the promise that one day, complete justice will prevail.

 

Show notes:

In this episode, Whit references the book Dominion by Tom Holland

Check Out Another Episode:

Cancel Culture – Living in an age of moral outrage

 

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