Summary: Are we really interested in seeing justice done at home and around the world? Do we even understand justice?
Today I am beginning a 3 week series entitled:
Do we really want the same things God wants”
Matthew 23:23 23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others.
The three things that will be looked at are; Justice, Mercy, and Faith. Today we will be looking at the first of these. Justice. On the bulletin I have the picture that most of us think of when we hear the word justice. Another image might be the statue of blind justice, with the scale in one hand, a sword in the other and a blindfold on. While this understanding of justice is correct, it is not the entire understanding of justice. Justice in this sense is simply about making correct judgments. But, this is only part of a Biblical understanding regarding justice.
Today the word injustice is over-used to the point of meaninglessness. Newspapers prints headlines that read; Football teams suffer injustice because of bad officiating. We hear this word injustice thrown around so much that we tend to forget that there is a real thing called injustice.
The Bible speaks of “doing justice”, whereas we speak of “getting justice.” Doing justice is to maintain what is right or to set things right. Justice is done when honorable relations are maintained between husbands and wives, parents and children, employers and employees, government and citizens, and human beings and God. Justice refers to neighborliness in spirit and action.
The Unfamiliar Passions of God
Are God and I interested in the same things?
I am interested in me
on a good day—family
on a really good day—people I like, and that like me, and that look like me.
on a phenomenal and particularly spiritual day—people I don’t like.
But since I’m a Christian and a Pastor I figure that this understanding is a bit shallow, and so I have to look in the scriptures to find what God is interested in.
As I read this psalm I can’t help but hear the heart of Solomon. I can only imagine what must have prompted him to write this psalm. I wonder if he had just witnessed a great injustice, of if he had just been told news about injustice, either way we can clearly see that Solomon is troubled by those who oppress and those who suffer at their hands. This psalm is about 3000 years old, and in it we can see and hear much of the injustice that happened then.
We often get the image of villages and tribes in a land far away in both geography and time, yet we look around us and we don’t see these things, and so we often times relegate them to the facts of history, and only refer to them as anecdotes, or novelties. After all things like that don’t happen today, right?
There was a man who owned some land, and the local government leader who controls the police arrested this man and threw him in jail in order to steal his land. --1998
There was another man who was arrested and thrown in prison for a robbery that he did not commit. He was beaten and tortured and told to confess his crimes. --1998
There was a family that needed money for food, and medical expenses, but they were poor and so they went to a local money lender for help. The money-lender gave them 1,500 rupees in exchange for…their 10 year old son. This young boy is forced to work and is only given food when his master wants to feed him. --2001
A young girl was promised work in a town away from her mother and father, while on the way she was taken, by the people who promised her work, and was placed in a brothel and beaten for three days until she consented to “service” paying customers. She had to “service” up to 30 customers per day. --2001
When did these things happen? Surely it they must have happened a long time ago, because that sort of stuff doesn’t happen today. Give the dates for each case.
So then, I wonder why we never hear about this stuff? I wonder if it is because of where these things happened.
1,000,000 children are sold into “bonded slavery” each year across the globe.
It is estimated millions of women who are in “forced prostitution” around the world.
Corrupt local governments falsely imprison hundreds of thousands around the world.
800,000 in Rwanda died at the hands of those in power in 8 weeks.
100,000 people died each week
14,285 people died each day.
595 people died each hour.