Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Amos 5:24; Justice, Bondage & Stress

Amos 5:24, "... let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream."


Justice has become a human search for a right-standing based on a sense and development of fair-play, honesty, and non-discriminatory relationships between events and people. It involves an equitable situation, whereby all involved possess equal rights and opportunities for a personal desirable outcome. Not a far-fetched idea, however it is an unreasonable assumption that it is attainable in real life. Our failings in our quest for justice come from the underpinnings of our search. As with all worldly endeavours a strictly human quest is fraught with a human perspective. In that, I mean we are not possessed with the inherent character, innate desire nor sacrificial resolve to see justice fully incorporated.

The personal nature of how justice would be fleshed out has negative implications as well. Each seeks to serve his own vested interests and most issues of justice revolve around that central aspect. A man's fickleness towards justice or injustice is most often seen in the change of individual circumstance. It is this personal view, as a defining of justice, which prevents any institution from fully discerning injustice or achieving justice for all. Our personal perspective defines our sense of just and right. It is this perspective, often times misapplied as a sense of truth, that creates the dysfunction, discrimination and disillusionment with society.

We seek through the determination of justice an ethical and moral template for others interactions and a governance of their decisions with regard to our interests. We would like to have structures and rules controlling the actions of others and insuring a rightness (righteousness) to all interactions. Impossible!
As a result we see in our environment an absurd amount of stress.

There is a relationship between righteousness and justice, not in an abstract sense, but in a living sense. However, its concern is not only with my right living and my interactions with others with a right perspective, this as a Christian is my obligation, but requires all people to have that same sense of right and equity. Justice is about action and reaction solely based on personal righteousness.

We spend and invest far too much energy on dealing with the nuances of justice, the subtleties of righteousness and too little on the action 'at the gate'. Justice requires fair dealing in business, credit arrangements, buying and selling, pay and receipt for work. The enemies of justice are privilege, bribery and unfair advantages all of which play upon individual perspective and situation. 

We all get up in arms about abusive situations where we see others being manipualted and exploited for the betterment of a select few, those who control finances and resources and are able to lord it over the less fortunate. Hence the need for unionized labour and laws governing work and labour practices. What a shame that we as men cannot see value in human life beyond what we can get from a life. Justice is not a mere concern for impartiality; it involves a particularity towards those who are most vulnerable.

I am sure that each and every person has at one time felt victimized by a person or circumstance. However, this may be a personal view based on our peculiar situation. We cannot expect to remain objective because of the subjective experience of each person. Hence the stress and strain in relationships. What I see as inequity, the other views the same way, each from a view of satisfaction for effort and reward.

Justice is about doing right; "to render to each on his own right"(Justinian); "giving each man what is proper or due to him"(Socrates); "what another has a right to cliam from us, not mere generosity, but obligation"(J.S.Mill). Ultimately justice cannot become a permanent nor impartial standard without reference to something inherently right; something embodying a truth which transcends human understanding. In today's pluralistic and positivistic culture justice is impotent and anarchic. There must exist an eternal, objective truth which underwrites justice. There exists no consennsus on what is 'right' or 'true'. "... everyone did (does) what is right in his own eyes." Justice has come to mean 'due process', the 'means' not the 'end'.

Enter the teaching of Jesus, "do unto ... as you would have..." A Christians sense of justice is to be evident in every relationship. A disciple of the Golden Rule has no value-confusion with regard to justice. Obedience is a reflection upon the personal character of each Christian and our ability, nay obligation, to love others is to be exemplary.

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