Justice requires many things from us.
It requires that we be both warriors and mothers, advocates and givers. It asks for us to fight against wrong, to defend the vulnerable, to take proactive steps towards filling the cracks instead of just putting out buckets to catch the leaks.
It asks us to house the stranger and welcome the orphan, to live shockingly generous, hospitable lives–to walk the delicate tightrope between mercy and steadfast truth–in short, it asks from us more than we can give on our own.
To live “righteously” is to live rightly, to invest our time and resources into the things that matter. Yet without the Spirit, our hearts will become exhausted trying to measure up to an idea of perfection, rather than righteousness. Lately I’ve been thinking how justice has less to do with the letter of the law, and a whole lot more about the intent of the heart. If you look at the judges and kings who are the hero of a good story, immortalized in tales passed down through the generations, it was their creative wisdom that saved the day and accomplished what was ultimately just.
The more I ponder justice, the more I’m convinced it goes further than simply wanting laws enforced, evildoers jailed, clear division between right and wrong. Certainly, it involves these things. But could these actions, without love, be nothing more than vengeance?
When I say “love,” I also mean so much more than mere compassion and emotional sympathy. We may not always “feel” this love, this justice. I’m referencing a fierce love, a practical love, a self-emptying love. It’s a love that clings to truth because it knows that love separated from truth becomes a weak and shriveled love.
I want more than anything to learn how to live a life like this.