Lesson 4 -- third quarter 2002
June 23, 2002
© Copyright 2002, Christian Light Publications
What is justice?
"It isn't fair!"
Now there's a familiar complaint! You hear it regarding wages and jobs. You hear it regarding opportunities and privileges. You hear it about housing and you hear it about taxes. You hear it about health, death, and almost everything and everyone else. Nobody is exempt from being accused of unfairness, not even God.
Let me tell you something, though. Something that may startle you a bit. Many complaints of unfairness are very accurate. Even those made against God. For example, do you think God is fair in allowing one child to be born in a war-torn, starvation-racked country while allowing another child to be born in a well-to-do American home? Well, I don't think God is fair in allowing that. But let me assure you that God's unfairness doesn't bother me at all.
God has no obligation to treat everyone equally in the sense that everyone is and receives exactly the same as everyone else. That would be fairness. (I think it would also be absurd, but let's not pursue that angle.) No, fairness clearly is not part of God's character.
We must understand, though, that God does treat everyone with an equal degree of justice. And what is justice if it isn't fairness? Justice is rightness. Not the human perception of rightness, but God's unerring knowledge of rightness. That means there will be many times when God's doings will strike us as unjust because our human perspective and perception are so messed up. In those situations we must accept by faith that God is always righteous and any appearance of wrongness on His part is due to our own faulty vision and understanding. Always remember this: God defines rightness and justice; we do not because we cannot.
How should you respond to inequity?
OK, so you are resigned to the justice of inequity. But how should you respond when someone you love is killed by a drunk driver (who survives, by the way)? Or when you don't get the privileges your best friend does? Or when you work harder but earn less than your neighbor? Or when you have chronic allergy problems or persistent back pain?
I'll remind you of several possible responses.
Look up. I know that this is hard to do, but it seems right that we should acknowledge to God His right to allow whatever He chooses in our lives. This means surrendering our will, our vision, and our understanding to His superior will, vision, and understanding. Like Job exclaimed, "What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" (Job 2:10).
Look around. Do this with the intent of seeing the good you have received. I know this is hard to do when difficulties and tragedies so insistently demand our attention. In looking around you, will likely also discover that even in your loss you have still been blessed with more than someone else. For example, another of your friends may have less privileges than you. Or you may be earning more than someone else who is working harder than you. Consider that others could look at you and complain that you are the one with the "good life." As the Apostle Paul wrote, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
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