I was reading Amos this morning. It talks about justice.
Justice as a Western idea is the meting out of everyone’s just due. The good are rewarded and the evil punished. Laws are adjudicated with an even hand. THAT is justice for us.
It is not biblical justice.
So when the rich eat and the poor are hungry, God sides with the hungry. When the powerless are under the boot of the powerful, God sides with the powerless. Over and over, it is widows, orphans and aliens (not ET…) who are given the special protection of God because there is no one else looking after them. When someone takes advantage of another person simply because he can—because he is an opportunistic bully—he makes God his enemy. God is oppressed by no one.
Biblical justice can mingle justice and mercy because mercy is justice. Justice is kindness towards those who are hurting. Justice is food to the hungry. Justice is a bandage to the wounded.
Biblical justice can mingle justice and righteousness because righteousness is justice. Justice is loving God. Justice is loving people. Justice is denial of self and taking up a cross (a willing sacrifice for those unable to pay their own debt) and following Jesus.
Biblical justice is also judgment. The Bible talks of the Day of the Lord when YHWH will make all the wrongs right and those who love darkness will be cast into a place that reflects their lightlessness. And on the Day of the Lord, those who have loved light and sought mercy will be drawn to a place where their light will be further illuminated by the One who is light.
Biblical justice is a beautiful thing—to be embraced by those who love justice and feared by those who work against it.
Amos is about biblical justice. Today my prayer is the Word of God to Amos.
Let justice roll down like waters
And Righteousness like an ever-flowing stream