“Dum – Dum”
The sound of Dick Wolf’s Law and Order interlude is what comes to mind when I think of the word justice. On seemingly every television station in perpetuity, the show’s writers found a way to condense several months of a major crimes full adjudication process into a one-hour segment. The first thirty minutes portrayed the police work on the streets focusing on the direct and personal implications of the breaking of the law. The second thirty minutes focused on the courtroom; in this segment, the “big picture” judicial process would be decided as a result of interpreting a developing set of laws that began in the country’s inception.
During this blog, I would like to take a similar approach to framing biblical justice. The first blog segment will focus on “the streets” perspective of framing biblical justice through our personal interactions. The second blog segment will focus on the broader perspective of framing biblical justice through God’s redemptive narrative.
(The opening credits roll)
Narrator: “In God’s justice system, He is the centerpiece. He is Just. (2 Thess 1:6) His Trinitarian nature is an equilateral outpouring of love. Initially, the world He created reflected His nature. In an act of ultimate treason, the crowing jewel of his creation—man—rebelled against him. Instead of justly destroying the world due to man’s rebellion, God began a grace filled plan of retribution. This is His story.”
“The Streets” – Biblical Justice in our personal interactions with Christians
Scene 1 – Image of God (Gen 1:26-27) When God creates man and women; he crafts individuals in his image and after his likeness. Every individual human being has more value and worth than any other aspect of creation: this is indicated by God’s delegation of dominion over all other created things. Understanding mankind’s value insures that we treat all human beings from every race, ethnic group and nation with the intrinsic value that is given to them by God.
Scene 2 – Seeking the Welfare of the City (Jer. 29:1-11) In the word given to Jeremiah by God to share to the exiles in captivity it includes a charge for holistic flourishing. The exiles were told to build houses for the purpose of living in them, plant gardens for the purpose of eating the produce and to seek out spouses for the purpose of building families. Integrating the 5 S’s (Salvation, Future Story, Sexual Purity, Service, and School) in your mentoring is way to be intentional about seeking the welfare of the city through your protégé in South Dallas.
Scene 3 – Do Justice (Micah 6:6-8) This text answers the question that is often presented throughout biblical narrative. What can humans do to please the Lord? Do we kill thousands of animals, present rivers of oil or give him our firstborn? This text (Micah 6:8) shows that the right answer is that we do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God. When we “Do Justice,” we actively serve as advocates against individuals and systems which seek to inflict injustice on the poor, marginalized and defenseless.
Scene 4 – The Great Commission and Great Commandment (Matt. 28:18-20 and Matthew 22:36-40)
Although these commands are uniquely different, they work in tandem. The Great Commission is the call to make disciples or produce reproducing followers of Jesus. The Great Commandment is the call to love God with all of our heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves. When we seek to love God with everything, His character is reflected in the fruit (Gal. 5:22-23) we bear towards other people. When we seek to love our neighbor (Luke 10:37), we show mercy to any individual in our grasp through sharing the gospel. We also seek to build substantive relationships with individuals from different backgrounds. The ethos that undergirds our pursuit and sustaining of these relationships is asking and answering the question, “how would I treat me?” as we seek to love others.
Zach Middleton, Relationship Coordinator