Establishing justice based on our preferences is no justice at all. To declare some action just or unjust, the presupposition is that we all agree on a moral standard that makes it clear what is just or unjust. If we cannot agree on what is right and just, then we will not agree on what is immoral and unjust. This seems to me what is happening in our culture, and it is one of the reasons why offense is on the rise in the culture.
People decide on their own standard of morality and expect others to agree with them and follow it. Since not everyone has the same moral standard, people don’t necessarily agree with each others’ moral standard. As a result, people are stepping on each others’ toes and offend one another because everyone insists on their standard and do not understand why others don’t see their standard or follow it. If we decide to create our own morality and expect everyone to respect and follow it, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and disillusionment. We are bound to get offended, which will lead to bitterness and hatred of other people.
So what is the solution to this problem? How do we seek justice in society?
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Mercy and truth go before Your face. Psalm 89:14
God is the Author of Justice
We need to begin with God who is the author of righteousness and justice. We cannot have righteousness apart from Him, and we cannot practice true justice except by following God’s standard. As I shared in the last devotional, justice and righteousness go hand in hand, and if we desire to seek justice then we should also seek to establish righteousness that is based on objective moral standards.
Righteous or Moral Laws
One of the fallacies of the culture is that if the society calls something legal then it is righteous and moral. Just because something is legal, it does not make it moral. Consequently, anything that is sin and immoral in God’s eyes, can have consequences. Sin is unjust, and bad choices will be faced with consequences that may look unjust to the casual inquirer.
For example, the use of various intoxicating drugs are legal, but their use opens the door to all forms of evil causing someone to possibly be faced with law, loss of a job, financial issues, or loss of family relationships. A person who lives this kind of lifestyle has opened the door to evil and unrighteousness. Hence, injustice will go hand in hand with this pattern of behavior. They may cry out for justice but the truth is that their actions have opened the door to evil and injustice.
God’s Standard is Impartial
It is not good to show partiality to the wicked, Or to overthrow the righteous in judgment. Proverbs 18:5
As believers, our responsibility is to hold up God’s standard of truth, righteousness, and justice and not show partiality regardless of our relationship to the person. When issues arise that require a decision, before deciding on what is just, we need to find out what is the standard of righteousness. When God’s standard of righteousness is determined, then all parties should be held accountable to the same standard.
One of the challenges of today’s climate is that people call something unjust solely based on who is in power. Those who are in power are assumed to be wrong, cruel, and unjust, and those who are not in a position of power are assumed to be innocent, right, and moral.
God looks at justice differently because He has assigned to each person responsibility, privilege, and punishment in their designated role. As a result, He holds individuals accountable to their roles. He does not make judgment based on who is in power or not, but based on their actions within their assigned role. He is impartial to the person and their position. We see this in the Genesis account. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, God did not give anyone a pass including the serpent. He punished them all because they had failed in their designated roles. That was justice and impartiality.
If we want to represent the Lord properly on the earth, we need to do the hard work of objectively looking at each person’s actions and matching them to God’s expectations for their role. To have a just society, we need to be clear-headed about what is true, just, and right in society according to God’s standard, and then expect all parties to be held accountable to that standard.