Lesson 8: Hope for Justice

God's justiceA second vision of the future prevalent throughout the Bible is God’s promise of justice. It’s important to understand we are talking about justice not law. Ours is a society of law that tries to provide fairness and equality in resolving conflicts between individual people and groups.

The justice vision promises a caring community that eliminates these conflicts altogether . All are fed, housed, and clothed because all live in a righteous relationship with God and all other people. All are bound together. All have enough. Hope is built on this promise.

That hope inspires just living now. Although we often speak of
the Old Testament Torah as the Law, a close examination reveals it really presents guidelines. By far the largest number concern care for the widow, orphan, sojourner, and foreigner, Many others are Good Samaritan laws.

You can’t command someone to care love, honor, have compassion, or not covet. These guidelines direct the heart rather than control the will.They spark a distributive justice where people share what they have been given.

It sometimes goes even further inspiring a restorative justice where people make up what has been lost when they have failed to do this. You see that in the Jubilee guidelines where supposedly every seven and seventy year slaves were freed and debts forgiven. Jesus is certainly speaking of this vision when he counsels giving to anyone who asks. The call for reparations in the present society fits into this kind of justice.

Note that the visions of peace and justice overlap. Both promise communities where people care for one another. Of course, the same thing is going to happen with love.
Let’s end this one asking Karen’s question: “Is there any hope for justice considering the corruption of judges, the advantage given special groups, the political highjacking of the system, and the purchasing of deals?”She is right that there is little ground for optimism here. Hope can be found in trusting God’s grace or having faith than justice is embedded in the grain of the universe which amounts to the same thing.

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  1. Dorothy E Luquette says:

    I’ve done a lot of reading about the American Indians and their lifestyles, especially the Northeastern tribes, over the past few years. One thing that jumps out is that their lifestyle seems to be based on the type of community “that eliminates these conflicts altogether . All are fed, housed, and clothed because all live in a righteous relationship with God and all other people.” And this extended to all of the natural world, too, developing a relationship with the rest of creation. Granted, conflicts over hunting grounds and territories were not unheard of, but essentially, these were caring community. And their lifestyle was absolutely dependent on this relationship with Nature and each other.
    Now, looking at our lifestyles, based on an ideal of not needing others in our ‘communities’ for the necessities of life (and maybe even companionship?). Do we see how we evolved into the mess we’re in? And should we get back to needing our neighbor, at least to enable our growth as a caring community in Christ?


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