So What Is Justice?

Justice is one of those words that is so commonly used, and yet I think it is rarely understood. Philosophers have struggles with it for millennium (For a good summary see Michael Sandel's books or online courses). The Christian conception of Justice has been limited by its association with judgement and punishment. For example the King James rendered the Hebrew word mishpat as Judgementi, while Holman's Treasury of Key Bible Words says that it can be rendered as "to settle," "to judge." This, destroys the richness of this key biblical concept, and it the process it has kept us in an immature faith of judgment fearing childhood. 

but it can also be understood as a way of life, or a way prescribed.

When we look at the broader picture of law in scripture, we can see that law is also tied to the wisdom of God and Word of God which gave order to creation and human life so that life can flourish. This fits with an another, equally valuable meaning of mishpat which is a way of life or a way prescribed. Justice can then become a way of life, that is lived according to the law or wisdom of God, a wisdom intended to lead to the flourishing of life or action or conduct "which brings about, renews and secures this state" 

Then there is Jesus's summary of the law and the prophets to "Lover the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your mind and to love your neighbours as your self" For Jesus this is the summary of the law and the prophets that call us back to the law. Far from judgement, Jesus points us towards Love being the heart of what the law and the way of God is all about. 

So what do I mean by Justice here - following Jesus,  I believe that Justice is about living the way of love, and shaping one's own life, and one's community's live according to the wisdom of God so that all life and flourish. It is also our action that seeks to renew and return us to this life giving, wisdom guide way of life. 

This page is intended as a chance of reflection on how we can life this out and opportunities to engage in this Holy Work.