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Justice: A Theological Interpretation. Part 2

In Isaiah chapter 1, God in reproving the nation of Israel for their sins, gave the nation the conditions of repentance. He commands them to ‘Learn to do what is right! Promote justice!’ It stands to reason that part of the sin of the nations of Israel in this writing was the fostering of injustice. The promotion of justice took three distinct forms: ‘Give the oppressed reason to celebrate! Take up the cause of the orphan! Defend the rights of the widow!’ It should be noted that these stipulations were a part of the conditions for repenting. Due care and consideration had to be given to the orphans, the widows and the poor.

As such it goes to show that any nation that neglects these groups of people in the society is guilty of injustice. Injustice may be seen in many ways. When the poor are taxed at the same rate as the rich, that is injustice; when a person is placed at an obvious advantage by virtue of his or her skin tone or socio-economic status, that is injustice; when the leaders of the courts of appeal and the justice system are open to bribes or are more concerned about making another dollar rather than dispensing justice or right or wrong then that is injustice; when the poor receive harsh jail sentences for crimes that they commit while the rich and powerful of any country are given nothing more than a slap on the wrist for similar or more grievous crimes then injustice is rife in that country; when the poor and the widows are ostracized by government policies and actions and are left to wallow in their poverty, injustice is present; when children are allowed to roam the streets looking for a meal while able bodies parents are no where to be found, then those children are the victims of injustice. In many cases there is a savage cycle that perpetuates itself and this is what needs to be stopped.

Our notion of justice therefore may need to be re shaped. The idea that justice means universal policies for both the rich and poor may actually perpetuate injustice rather than alleviate it. The opposite therefore may be true, that justice may actually mean that the poor and disadvantaged are treated differently and given different conditions and regulations that may actually help them ‘step up inna life’ – climb the socio-economic ladder on their way to their own personal liberation.

In conclusion, justice must be seen from the starting point of those who are denied justice, this is where God locates himself and tht makes all the difference in the world. His righteousness dictates that the poor, the oppressed and the disadvantaged in society be dealt with differently than the rich and famous and this different treatment necessarily must be beneficial and uplifting and not oppressive. When any country or people do these things then justice will rain down like a mighty stream. That is God’s idea and so it ought to be ours as well.


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