Putting Things Right

n7FVr9gHere’s a quote to get you thinking today, from the book What is Mission? by missiologist Andrew Kirk:

“For a Christian who listens to the witness of the Old and New Testaments, the problem of finding an adequate basis for justice is solved. Both the basis for and the meaning of justice spring from the nature of the God who is. Justice is what God does, for justice is what God is. By definition, he acts consistently with his attributes. So we know justice through God’s acts of deliverance, through his laws and through the kind of relationships between human beings that he requires:

‘He has told you 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?’
(Mic. 6:8)

‘Is this not the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
and to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?’
(Isa. 58:6)

‘Give the king your justice, O God…
may he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice…
may he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor.’
(Ps. 72:1-4)

The word of the prophet is addressed to the whole nation, not just to individuals. The whole community has a set of obligations which reflect God’s character. ‘To do justice’ is to demonstrate that the corporate body of people belong to one another. Justice is an active concept. It is not the maintenance of a static state of equilibrium in which certain powers are kept in balance. It is an activity in which a disordered or disproportionate state of affairs is put right. To do justice is to enable the disadvantaged to escape permanently from the trap of deprivation in order that they may become full, responsible members of the community. This will happen as resources and opportunities in life are made available to all. Justice includes; injustice excludes.

Justice is also about checking the excessive concentration of economic and political power in the hands of a few, so that responsible decision-making may be an activity of the whole community. It is about ensuring that each person may own and enjoy the work of his or her own hands and be supported by the community when hit by adversity.” (pp. 104-105)

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