“Justice is a communal vision in which entire communities flourish and live in the goodness and love of God.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 5, 2021
Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. Isaiah 42:1, ESV
As a father of young children, there is one phrase that seems to frequently find its way into the heart of our home: “That’s not fair!” My children seem to have a remarkable intolerance for injustice, calling it out at every turn and demanding that every wrong be righted. That said, this noble quest comes with one significant qualifier. The only injustice that seems to concern them is their own!
If they have not been personally wronged or impacted by the violation of rights, their concern mysteriously disappears. If his sisters are waging a war over who has the larger scoop of ice cream, my son is remarkably dispassionate, unconcerned with the inequality that is unfolding before him. Yet if he is the one with the smaller scoop, the injustice simply cannot stand!
Though this impulse is pronounced and exaggerated in children, it is no less real or pervasive in our own lives as adults.
We must learn to cultivate an abiding concern for the justice of others. I use the word cultivate here with great intentionality. This does not happen by accident! We do not have to cultivate a desire for our own justice. It is hardwired into our DNA. It will always be with us, and most of the time we must work to be less concerned with our own justice, for if it consumes us we will be unable to see the needs of others that are all around us.
Justice is a communal vision in which entire communities flourish and live in the goodness and love of God. As Isaiah says, a day is coming in which justice will flow, not simply for the people of Israel, but for the nations. This ancient prophecy must become the prayer of our hearts. Yet it does not happen by accident. We cultivate and tend to this way of life. We discipline the deeds of our daily lives so that they are ordered and oriented, not simply to our own needs, but to the needs of our neighbors.
Your personal justice can never be severed from the justice of those around you. As the great abolitionist William Wilberforce once said, “No man has a right to be idle. Where is it that in such a world as this, that health, and leisure, and affluence may not find some ignorance to instruct, some wrong to redress, some want to supply, some misery to alleviate?”
“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:17).
Father, open our hearts to the needs that surround us, not simply those that impact us directly, learning to love as you love and to be burdened by the things that burden your heart, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
What tangible step can you take today towards seeking justice in your neighborhood and community?
Tim Hughes – God of Justice
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