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What justice is and isn't

Greg Garner
Greg Garner | Courtesy of Greg Garner

Epitomized in the dying words of George Floyd, "I can't breathe" is perhaps a proclamation from a society's waning consciousness. A dying man's desperate plea and mournful call for Justice herself, gasping for breath, praying that someone, anyone will step in. Stand up. Speak out.

It is said that Lady Justice is blind. I wonder if she is also deaf. I wonder if we have mistakenly assumed responsibility for this noble principle. But Justice is not ours to hold or to define. Justice does not originate from ivory towers of intellectual thought or deep wood-grained courtrooms. It does not reside under the banner of one political party; but rather, flows from the heart of a perfect God who is the sole standard for Justice. Justice and love are synonymous. Justice is as much of a concern of our Heavenly Father's as is love or mercy. And much like our God is full and overflowing with grace, so too should be our Justice.

Tragically, there are instances in this country where our sense of justice is blinded by our sin. That our politics or ideologies outpace our compassion and personal opinions outweigh our love. Micah reminds us as Believers:

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"With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:6-8, ESV) 

James continues this thought centuries later challenging those who profess Christ with their mouths but deny Him by their actions. "Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself." What we see today in our world is indeed the direct consequence of sin. That the solution to our sin problem is not more training, better education or legislation. Paul states in his letter to the Roman church, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." 

Jesus is our singular hope. Our only hope. He is the cure and remedy for our sin. The cure for the hate that intertwines our heart, the racism affecting our minds, the selfish desires fueling our actions. 

And while the gospel message is the solution, the church is not called to sit back and go about business as usual. As God informed the prophet Micah, an offering of praise, those "ten thousand rivers of oil" please not the heart of God as much as one act of mercy. One heart committed to justice.

Jesus informs his disciples, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35). This statement left such an indelible mark on the disciple John that years later he writes, "If someone says, 'I love God' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen" (1 John 4:20). 

I have a choice. To pursue causes or to be obedient to commands. I can desire to be "right" or I can choose to live righteously. I can argue over history, wrestle over facts and data or I can make a conscious choice to "die to myself" and "serve rather than be served." As Paul remarks: 

"For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another" (Galatians 5:13-16, ESV). 

Church, let us not be consumed by that which will devour us. Let us not be so focused on that which is fleeting for that which is eternal. Our fleshly desires can extend beyond our sinfulness into our ideologies that elevate a perishing kingdom over an eternal glory.

Greg Garner resides in Dallas, Ga with his wife of 21 years, Kari, and their two children, Kaden and Kenli. He has served on staff at West Ridge Church for over seven years as the Director of Local Outreach, and now as the Director of Men’s Ministry. Originally from Texas, he loves college football and the Texas Longhorns, and eating Mexican food as often as possible. Greg has a deep love and passion for God’s Word and truly believes that full devotion to Christ happens best in authentic Biblical community. 

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