Bible Order: Ruth 1–4
Chronological Order: Joshua 4–7
New Testament Only: Luke 2:1–21
What is justice? I had this conversation with my daughter the other day. She needs to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around her. She is struggling with viewing the world through the eyes of others and employing the biblical admonition to do unto others as she would have done unto her. She’s been seeing hurtful intention in the actions of some others and she has been plotting her revenge.
I was reminding her once again about that “golden rule” and for some reason the “eye for an eye” scripture came to mind. I asked her if she understood that God wasn’t’ giving that verse simply to prescribe punishment but to limit out-of-proportion retaliation for a wrong. I told her that a person might accidentally run into a person and knock that person’s tooth out. That person, enraged and seeking “justice” might retaliate by severely beating the first person. God is teaching us, with the “eye for an eye” lesson, that justice is proportional to the wrong.
I actually moved my discussion with her into a discussion about “turning the other cheek” and “if someone asks you to walk with them a mile offer to go two” but that starts to take us in another direction here. By the way, I actually see my daughter’s eyes glaze over as I attempt to have these little discussions with her but I’m hopeful that some of what I’m saying is getting through. Have you been there?
God tells us in today’s reading that we shall not pervert justice.
Deuteronomy 16:19-20 ESV
“You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
My wife and I were just discussing today the fact that we have come to the point in this country where Satan is successfully distracting the adopted sons and daughters of the King by getting us to be so worked up and partisan about our politics. Trust me when I say that politics is Satan’s playground and we aren’t going to beat him playing his game let alone doing so on his turf.
That said, I see in the behavior of our public officials frequent violations of this bit of scripture. Our officials do indeed show partiality in their deliberations. Some citizens are evidently more valuable or more protected than others in their eyes. The current healthcare bill being considered in Washington is chock full of bribes to these same officials and special interests. That same bill looks to punish some and reward others and this partiality and perversion of justice is not uncommon in our legislative process.
I think this long standing behavior on the part of our elected officials is what is behind the discontent of our fellow citizens today. We have no faith in our elected officials because their perversion of justice is so blatantly and flagrantly obvious. Their eyes have been blinded to the cause of the righteous whether or not they have ever been wise. Upheaval and unrest are a natural characteristic of a lost world and there is no question in my mind that today we live in a lost America.
Some of you may say that this moral failure on the part of our officials is the reason we should become more active in politics so we can “through the bums out” and return our society to a more godly way of life. Please don’t misunderstand me. We are both citizens of Heaven and citizens of America. Each comes with a set of rights and responsibilities. As citizens of America we should indeed participate in the democratic process. I believe it was Edmund Burke who once said something to the effect that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. I believe that is true and that we should be informed, communicate respectfully and frequently our point of view to our representatives, and vote regularly. Some of us should even run for office since if good men and women don’t then all that is left in office are the bad.
My problem with our political discourse today is its angry rhetoric and its partisan meanness. How does participating in that show the love of Christ to others? When we shout and shake our fists we are doing exactly what the politicians want us to do. When we support uncritically the positions of any one party we are doing exactly what the politicians want us to do. In the mean time others are watch the children of God acting just like the lost. How or why would they be drawn to Christ through our public discourse?
We are citizens of America, but how are we living up to our responsibilities as citizens of Heaven? We all have every reason to be discussed with the behavior of our elected officials of both parties but if you want to change Washington were going to have to start by changing the hearts of citizens. If you want to see a positive change in this country start telling people about Jesus. As Pastor Jim Cross says “How can you expect a lost person to act as anything but a lost person?”
As I see it we have two problems: 1) we have far too many people in this country who haven’t come face to face with the life changing good news, 2) far too many of us self-proclaimed Christians are acting like the lost rather than the saved. Here is the solution to all that troubles our country today:
Step 1) Good men have to stand up and start acting like good men. This does not mean shouting at rally’s but rather reading your Bibles and putting on the mind of Christ; showing the love of Christ in your every thought, word, and deed. It means holding each other accountable to be the men God created us to be.
Step 2) Start telling people about Jesus.
That’s it. You can’t do these steps out of order either. If you live and act like the lost, what you tell people about Jesus will be meaningless to them. The Jesus you’re selling is the same false Jesus they already have. Get your life right with God and let His light shine through you. It is then that God will work through you to draw His sheep back to Him.
As more people live in right relationship with God our world will change. Doubt it? Let me leave you with this final bit of scripture. As the Apostles went out to follow the last command from their Savior Jesus Christ, to make disciples of all nations, they began to change the world. People were being so radically changed that the clingers to the status quo were outraged. In Acts we read of Paul and Silas in Thessalonica where they stayed with a man named Jason. They preached the Word in the synagogue and some were persuaded to follow Jesus. This angered many and a mob formed intending to drag Paul and Silas into the street.
Acts 17:6 ESV
And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also,
Oh to stand before corrupt officials as others shout in outrage that you and I have turned the world upside down! Good men; be upright and walk in the ways of God. Good men; defeat evil by telling the world about Jesus! Let it be said of you that you are a man who has turned the world upside down and have come here also!
Have a blessed day!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
(Originally posted 3/6/10)