Journal

Justice and Mercy

What Is Justice, Anyway?

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the word ‘justice’ already, well…

The effect of so much attention on one topic from so many different angles can hurt the head, and it makes me ask, “OK, now just what are we talking about again?  And just what is justice, anyway?”

Here’s my short definition:  Justice is “doing what is right for people and righting the wrongs that have been done to people.” And how in the world, then, do we know what’s right? Well, we can ask, “What would a loving, holy, merciful, compassionate, forgiving, just God do?” When we have a good answer to that question, we’re going to be given good guidance on what justice looks like.

And here’s my long one:  “Rooted in God’s character and in response to the inherit dignity in every person having been made in the image of God, justice happens when all people may experience “life to the full” because individuals and systems ensure that everyone has unhindered access to the required basic necessities of the life that God intends for human beings—including food, water, emotional and physical health, shelter, education, protection, and access to Truth.   Because we live in a fallen world, justice requires that the weak are protected, victims are compensated, and the guilty are redemptively punished, so that things that are wrong may be made right.”

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