The Statesman Is Committed to Justice
I would like to pause with you and reflect on the issue of justice. The history of mankind consists of the powerful taking advantage of the weaker. I submit to you that there is no more helpless feeling than that there is no where one can go to receive fair treatment.
Furthermore, a primary purpose for Government is to ensure justice regardless of one’s station in life.
Where does the concept of justice come from? Of all the possible values we humans could desire, why is justice so important?
The character of God Himself personifies it:
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; faithful love and truth go before You (Psalm 89:14).
For the LORD your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God, showing no partiality and taking no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreign resident, giving him food and clothing (Deuteronomy 10:17-18).
We can learn much about the quality of justice God wants us to display by looking at this aspect of God’s character. There are probably more statements in the Bible about justice than any other quality.
God not only intends justice for His creation, He demands it. Nations are disciplined by God based on their implementation of justice. God Himself is just and He cares about justice for His whole creation. He demands justice by His creation. God speaking through the prophet Jeremiah:
This is what the LORD says: “Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and announce this word there. You are to say: Hear the word of the LORD, king of Judah, you who sit on the throne of David—you, your officers, and your people who enter these gates. This is what the LORD says: Administer justice and righteousness. Rescue the victim of robbery from the hand of his oppressor. Don’t exploit or brutalize the alien, the fatherless, or the widow. Don’t shed innocent blood in this place. For if you conscientiously carry out this word, then kings sitting on David’s throne will enter through the gates of this palace riding on chariots and horses— they, their officers, and their people. But if you do not obey these words, then I swear by Myself”—this is the LORD’s declaration—“that this house will become a ruin” (Jeremiah 22:1-5).
Here, God is requiring justice by the Head of Government and by all who administer on his or her behalf. In other places. God admonishes:
For I the LORD love justice; I hate robbery and injustice (Isaiah 61:8).
He teaches us further:
Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).
One of God’s major instructions was:
Pursue justice and justice alone, so that you will live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you (Deuteronomy 16:20).
The word of the LORD came to Zechariah: “The LORD of Hosts says this: Render true justice. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the stranger or the poor, and do not plot evil in your hearts against one another” (Zechariah 7:8-10).
Thus, Solomon, when he became king, after having been groomed by his father David, implored God, said:
God, give Your justice to the king and Your righteousness to the king’s son. He will judge Your people with righteousness and Your afflicted ones with justice. May the mountains bring prosperity to the people and the hills, righteousness. May he vindicate the afflicted among the people, help the poor, and crush the oppressor…. For he will rescue the poor who cry out and the afflicted who have no helper. He will have pity on the poor and helpless and save the lives of the poor. He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious in his sight (Psalm 72:1-4,12-14).
This is the ultimate in justice to make sure the most vulnerable in society are treated fairly.
Justice gives stability to the Government.
A king who judges the poor with fairness—his throne will be established forever. (Proverbs 29:14)
May we learn the same lesson and take this with all seriousness. Self-interest alone would cause a leader to work to ensure justice. However, there is a greater judge who holds us accountable.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10).
As leaders, the implementation of justice for our people will be very high on the list. Justice will be reflected by our laws and the decisions of our courts.
How can justice ever be accomplished in light of man’s unjust nature? One need only look at the history of governance to understand the challenge. Our human history is littered with the powerful dominating the weak. We have examples of kings ruling over serfs with no rights, even the right to personal property.
No one is good—no one in all the world is innocent (Romans 3:10).
The prophet Jeremiah, as he walked with God, saw injustice, God instructed Jeremiah:
Roam through the streets of Jerusalem. Look and take note; search in her squares. If you find one person, any who acts justly, who seeks to be faithful, then I will forgive this city (Jeremiah 5:1).
Then I thought: They are just the poor; they have played the fool. For they don’t understand the way of the Lord, the justice of their God. I will go to the powerful and speak to them. Surely they know the way of the Lord, the justice of their God. However, these also had broken the yoke and torn off the chains (Jeremiah 5:4-5).
‒ meaning that they had openly rebelled against our Lord’s requirements for them.
The human heart desires justice for his or herself but does not have the capacity to give it to others.
We have our Creator demanding justice from the governors who have hearts that can be expected to be naturally unjust. How can this ever be accomplished? It is only as those charged with administering justice submit every thought and action to the Author of justice. In the process, we must allow God to purge our hearts of injustice and then we must also encourage those administering with us to make the same commitment.
God has told us through His instruction manual:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:19-20).
for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. (Romans 8:13-14).
To paraphrase, our ability to understand justice and to give it to others is evidence of our relationship with the Author of justice. Let us make sure we are beginning with that relationship in our own lives.