Justice

Today’s Attribute of Faith: Justice
Written by Les Hastings

"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." – Romans 5:1

Justice. We all know what that word means. Pair it with Truth and the American Way and you have our core values.

I’ve always tried the best I could to live a Christian life. Because I am a perfectionist, I tried very hard. And to tell you the truth, early in my late teens and twenties, I was pretty satisfied with the result. I was self-satisfied. Oh, I had some minor flaws, but there was a long list of things I had never done and promised myself and God I never would. “We don’t smoke and we don’t chew, and we don’t go with girls who do.” That was my unspoken creed. It’s not a bad personal creed, as personal creeds go. It probably kept me from getting in quite a bit of trouble in my teenage years and all the way through college.

I may be one of the few Baby Boomers who lived in California in the sixties and seventies and can remember the sixties and seventies. I was idealistic. I was judgmental of people who did any of the things on my “I’ll never do that” list. My concept of justice was that rule breakers, especially those who through their rule breaking had harmed me, would be punished or, at the very least, would not be rewarded.

The problem was that injustice was all around me and I was sometimes treated unjustly. I became angry, but the injustice went on unabated. Bad behavior was all around me. I hated the people that behaved badly, especially those whose bad behavior harmed me. And their behavior went on unchanged. People who broke the rules became successful, sometimes at my expense. I became jealous. And some of them became successful beyond my wildest dreams.

Then came the day I failed. Big time. I did one of the things on my “I’ll Never Do That” list. Justice was the last thing I wanted! Amazingly, what I received was grace. A new beginning. A new outlook. I remain aware of injustice and am still, at times, treated unjustly, but I strive for tolerance of different attitudes and beliefs.

I still see bad behavior, but I strive for forgiveness, especially when the bad behavior is directed toward me. I still see people profiting by breaking the rules, but I am inspired, in the words of John Wesley, “to do all the good I can in all the ways I can as long as ever I can.” And that, to me, is justice.

Prayer

Grant us, God, a world where peace is built with justice, and justice is inspired by love. Amen.

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