WHAT MAKES JUSTICE RIGHT?
How do you react when Mom blames you for something your brother or sister did?
How do you react when a girl ahead of you in the lunch line lets three of her friends into the line you've been waiting in for ten minutes?
How do you act when a teacher deducts points from your test for an "incomplete answer" but gives Melvin Sheldon full credit for the same answer?
If you're like most people, you react to such situations by saying, "Hey! Wait a minute. That's not fair!"
Everyone seems to know instinctively that justice is right and injustice is wrong. But why? What makes it right to be fair and wrong to be unfair?
Well, a lot of people would answer that question, "Because the Bible says so." They're right, in a way; the Bible has all kinds of precepts, such as "Give fair judgment to the poor and the orphan" (Psalm 82:3); "Give to everyone what you owe them" (Romans 13:7); and "You slave owners must be just and fair to your slaves" (Colossians 4:1). The law of Moses contained detailed commands to treat strangers and foreigners fairly, to provide for orphans and widows, and even to return stray animals to one's enemies. Those precepts can be summed up in what has been called "the Golden Rule": "Do for others what you would like them to do for you" (Matthew 7:12).
But those precepts are more than just a list of do's and don'ts; they reveal the fact that God values justice. But why does God value justice? Because he is just.
You see, justice is not right only because God commands it or even because God values it; it is right because it reflects the qualities of God himself. Justice is not something God does; it is something he is. "God is just," Paul wrote (2 Thessalonians 1:6, NIV). Moses sang, "Everything he does is just and fair" (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Then why should we be fair? Not just because Mom says so or because our friends say so or even because the pastor says so. We should be fair because justice is a reflection of God's character. Treating everyone fairly is right for all people, for all times, and in all places.
REFLECT: You've probably heard people say, "Life isn't fair." Are there some unfair circumstances that we all have to accept in life? If so, what unfair circumstances do you think you have to accept?
ACT: Place a ruler on your desk or in your locker or on the dining room table to remind you to follow the Golden Rule this week.
PRAY: "God, everything you do is 'just and fair: I know that doesn't mean life will always seem fair. But it does mean I should be fair because I want to be like you."