What is justice? How do you define it? Scot McKnight gives a pretty good definition here:
Justice is defined in Western culture by constitutional rights, by individualism, and by economic theory. So, justice is giving me what I have by right – like happiness and a good life and a good job and nice home – and by what I personally want for personal fulfillment and by each of us having enough money to buy a home and take a nice vacation. Then we have others defining justice as retribution, as in “we’ll bring the criminal to justice.”
Then, we have folks wanting to be more positive so they define justice as restoration, which is yet one more Western theory at work before we even get to the Bible.
So, in just a brief set of words: justice requires a standard whereby we measure actions and conditions. That standard in the Bible is God’s Word, and for followers of Jesus that standard becomes the teachings of Jesus or the guidance of the Spirit (Pauline emphasis) – and I’m more than willing to let Jesus define justice as love of God and love of others. After all, he reduced the entire law to loving God and loving others and the apostle Paul and James both echo that very teaching.
So, justice defined: “justice is a society characterized by the conditions and actions that are established by God as God’s will.” Followers of Jesus “do justice” when they embody and work for conditions and behaviors that conform to the teachings of Jesus. Followers do not define justice by the Western doctrines of rights to happiness.
If any ideal, justice included, surpasses our commitment to Jesus and His teachings, it will become an idol to us.
Instead of the gift, seek the Gifter.
Instead of the blessing, seek the One who blesses.
Instead of justice, seek the Just One.
Instead of beauty, seek the One who is truly beautiful beyond description.