my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
20 a bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
21and in his name the Gentiles will hope.” ~ Matt. 12:18-21
What an amazing picture this prophecy from Isaiah paints for us about the nature and character of Jesus Christ. Although there are tons to unpack here, today I just want to focus on the word justice. A couple of nights ago, while I laid in bed unable to sleep I heard in my spirit God telling me to pray for justice. That’s all He said. I was hesitant at first. I actually didn’t want to pray for justice since I personally prefer grace or mercy[i]. This reaction of mine most likely arose because of the famous bible passage that says mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13). And wherever there is justice some kind of judgment is soon to follow. I believe that justice and judgment goes hand and hand and you can’t have one without the other. I remember one time a friend after she was cheated and taken advantage of, saying all she wanted in this situation was for justice, and I remember thinking to myself, “well that’s not biblical or godly …”[ii], thank God I had enough sense to keep that thought to myself. So when I felt in my spirit, God telling me to pray for Justice, I didn’t know what to think of it at first. But by God’s grace I obeyed and just simply prayed for justice. While I was praying for justice God began to comfort me about this term that I was so hesitant to embrace. He began to show me that God’s justice includes His perfect love, that though we live in a world where justice to a large degree has been corrupted, God’s justice includes and has just the right amount of grace and mercy; never too much and never too little. He also began to show that His justice is always impartial, in light of His perfect love, meaning it’s not cold and calculated, but precise and personal. His justice is tailor made for each individual and situation to bring about the best possible outcome for everyone involved. As He began showing me these reasons why I could embrace this prayer for justice I began to desire His justice that much more. As I was preparing for this blog, I just did a simple word search on the term justice in the bible and as you can imagine a number of verses popped up containing this word. The bible tells us that God loves justice (Isaiah 61:8), and that Justice is part of His nature (Is. 30:18), He also loves all those who practices it (Ps 37:28), He commands us to maintain love and justice (Hosea 12:6), justice isn’t meant to be harsh and cold but it’s meant to brings joy to the righteous (Pr. 21:15), that a curse is attached to those perverting justice (Pr. 24:24), and this list can go on and on about the importance of justice found in the bible. There were so many verses about justice that I couldn’t believe I was hesitant to pray it. My avoidance of justice was perhaps a glaring sin in God’s eyes. Whether it was I don’t know, but personally I can’t help but to feel foolish about my previous view on this and to think that it was because of just one verse that warns us about desiring judgement that I would have such a negative knee jerk response to pray for justice. The final blow came when I read the parable about a woman that was so persistent in her request that an unjust judge granted it to her (Luke 18:1-8). Guess what her request was? You guess it, “Grant me justice against my adversary (v.3). The parable points out that she persistently pestered this unjust, ungodly judge with this request until she was granted justice. Then Jesus leaves us with the words, “and will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” ~ (Lk. 18:7-8). I was put to shame by this parable and my attitude towards justice has significantly changed. I hope I will no longer turn away from seeking justice but rather pray day and night for God’s perfect justice to come knowing His judgments are always loving, fair, true, and profitable.
[i] A simple definition of these terms are; Justice = getting what you deserve, Grace = not getting what you deserve, Mercy = getting what you don’t deserve
[ii] I’ve since changed my thoughts on that, I was young and ignorant.