Justice and love are two sides of the same coin. We can seek justice through love.
- Love means wanting the best for a person or group of people and acting accordingly.
- Justice means wanting to eliminate those things which do harm to the person or group of people who we love.
In seeking justice I am not taking about legal punishment of those who steal from, act violently or oppress their fellow human beings but about seeking to change the system where injustice is encouraged or tolerated.
Examples of injustice
- A society or nation which favours one ethnic group over another ethnic group. (The injustice of racism.)
- A situation where one half of the world’s wealth is owned by a handful of families. (The injustice of greed.)
- A society or nation which fails to support those who are disabled, weak or less talented. (The injustice of elitism.)
- A society which disregards the rights of minorities. (The injustice of intolerance.)
- An individual or company which steals from the community by not paying their fair share of taxes. (The injustice of theft.)
- A community in which violence is endemic allowing the strong to exploit the weak. (The injustice of violence.)
- A society which tolerates physical, mental or economic mis-treatment of women and children. (The injustice of abuse.)
Justice and Judgement
We can make laws which limit some forms of injustice and this implies that there needs to be some form of penalty for those who ignore those laws. But I do think that we need to be much more creative in applying sanctions. I care passionately about injustice but gain no satisfaction with the imprisonment or execution of miscreants. God has a very different way of dealing with injustice – but I’ll come on to that.
Love and Justice
- Love without justice is sentimentality.
- Justice without love is legalism.
I wrote these slogans 5 years or so ago but they are still true. I love and have compassion for those who suffer under poverty but hate the injustice which causes that poverty. Note that I didn’t say that I hated those individuals who benefit from the injustices that they impose on others but I will fight against the unjust system which tolerates their exploitation.
Jesus told us to love our enemies. That means I must love the corrupt official or those who use money and/or power to exploit the poor but that doesn’t stop me campaigning against the injustices involved. Love and Justice must go hand in hand.
God and Justice
God is love and he is just but being just doesn’t mean God is judgemental.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17 NIV)
In the Old Testament of the bible the prophets spoke frequently about “justice and righteousness”. The New Testament talks about God’s great love and grace and Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God where “God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven”. That Kingdom is built on love and justice for all men.
God doesn’t hate me or you or anybody in this world. He hates injustice and all the things which spoil our relationship with him and our fellow human beings, His anger, an extension of his love, is towards the things which harm us, not directed at those who do the spoiling. But he loves us and all his intentions towards us are for our good.
I long to see the good news (gospel) of the kingdom more evident on this earth. A kingdom based on love – God’s love for us and our love for our fellow human beings. A kingdom based on the rule of a God who loves us and actively seeks our good by being just.
We have the privilege of being a part of that kingdom as we love our neighbours and even our enemies and seek to make this world a more just place. We are called to seek justice through love.