As I was taking a Christian Ethics class at a seminary, I proposed a term paper. My proposal was that “righteousness could be the answer to most of the questions of Christian Ethics.” The professor turned it down, saying, “You are saying my job is not necessary.” I still believe the thesis is true and what the Bible teaches. Since the subject of justice is prominent in this country, I would like to share this idea with my brothers and sisters in the church.
When I hear the word “justice,” I always think about the term “righteousness.” In the Bible, justice and righteousness are the same things. The Hebrew root of the word is tsdk and that of the Greek word is dikaiousunei. The Greek word is a translation of the Hebrew word, and its meaning originates from the Hebrew word. The Hebrew word means that which pertains to what God does to His people and what God’s people have to do to conform to His commandments. Since God is love (1 John 4:8), and He commands us as His people to love our fellow humans (Matthew 22:39; John 13:34-35), then the ultimate basis of justice and righteousness according to the Bible is love.
Nowadays, justice is commonly associated with treating people equally. However, justice is not merely about equality. It goes much deeper than that according to the word of God. Some socialist countries treat people equally, but they still have problems with injustice. This tells us that treating people equally is not the complete answer to the problem of injustice. According to God’s standard of justice, the solution to injustice is loving all people. If people love their neighbors just as they love themselves, there will arise no problem of injustice.
The word of God is truth, and the word of God teaches that love binds all people together in perfect harmony (Colossians 3:14). Unfortunately, the world does not listen to God’s word, which gives the solution to its problems. Instead, the world listens to “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). However, it must not be like that in the Church, the kingdom of God. The church should be different in at least two ways regarding justice. One, the church must not see the problem of injustice as superficially as the world does, and, two, the church must not make the mistake of accepting the world’s solution as the final answer.
Therefore, if a brother or sister says he or she experienced injustice in the church, we must take it seriously and examine ourselves. What we have to examine is not merely whether or not discrimination happened, but whether or not we are truly loving one another. In the church, we must not see such problems as solely a problem of discrimination. we have to go even further and see it as a problem of love. If there is discrimination in the church, then the church is spiritually sick, and resolving the act of discrimination is not enough to cure the sickness. For the church to be healthy, it has to restore its members’ hearts to truly love one another. If we do not go that far in addressing the problem, then the injustice will arise again and again just as it does in the world.
The Church should distinguish itself from the world by its love. And the same should be the case with regard to justice. The church’s pursuit of justice should be different from that of the world because the church’s primary goal is love. we should not have the problem of injustice within the church since we strive to mimic our Savior’s love for us. Without that kind of love for one another, we are not different from the world, and we are not as righteous as we are called to be.