May 22, 2019
| By K.J. Hill
Our motivation is the Great Concern (Micah 6:8) and Great Commandment (Luke 10:27), which is God’s concern for justice and mercy (Ex. 3:7; Psalm 11:7; 68:5-6; 72:12-14; 146:6-9; Isaiah 61:1-2, 8) and his command that his people do justice out of merciful love (Isaiah 1:17; Isaiah 58:6-14; Micah 6:8; Proverbs 31:8-9; Amos 5:24; Matthew 5:6, Matthew 25:31-46; Galatians 2:10). We call this Biblical Justice. This includes mishpat (justice) which focuses on giving people what they deserve, either punishment (retributive) or protection and care (restorative), and always involves concern for the quartet of the poor (poor, orphans, widows and immigrants). Biblical Justice also includes tzadeqah (righteousness) which means being just and having right relationships with God, self, others and creation. Which is essentially what Jesus referred to in the great commandments to love God and love your neighbor. If everyone lived out tzadeqah then mishpat would not be necessary.
Nearly every time that God judged Israel he mentions that they have not cared for the marginalized among them. In Micah 6:8 we are told the Lord expects his people to do justice out of merciful love. Doing justice is more than just giving people the punishment they deserve, it is also ensuring that they have the protection and care that they deserve - taking up the cause of the vulnerable and marginalized. We believe that doing justice is the way that we fulfill the great commandments to love God and love our neighbor and therefore can’t be squeezed into the margins of our lives, but rather it should cause us to rearrange our lives.
In Generous Justice, Tim Keller says, Doing justice then requires constant, sustained reflection and circumspection. If you are a Christian, and you refrain from committing adultery or using profanity or missing church, but you don’t do the hard work of thinking through how to do justice in every area of life - you are failing to live justly and righteously.
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