“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God,” Micah 6:8.
What does it mean to act justly? Justice itself means to “do the right thing” – things are seen the way they’re supposed to.
Misphat and tzadeqah are the Hebrew words for justice, or charity. Together, these two words create a basis that can be used today, as “social justice.” This kind ofjustice doesn’t represent fixing something that is broken, but rather a justice that creates equality between everyone. “Social justice” does not discriminate against race, gender, or sexual orientation, but rather sees everyone as one in the same.
In the Bible, Jesus is seen as a just figure, as the protector of the poor, sick and “alienated” people, essentially the outcasts.
Gentiles, lepers and sinners were all rejected, which made them the target of what Jesus aimed to create justicefor.Heprotectstheonesthatarebeingridiculed, he makes things right, he is the doer. Socially, the Bible shows us that justice is making those who are not “normal” feel loved.
The message of the Christian faith is simply to love – to show by example what Jesus has shown his followers. This doesn’t necessarily mean promoting Christianity as if it’s an advertisement you’ve been assigned to, but rather to show what exactly justice is through actions of love.
However, is doing the right thing always the easiest and most obvious choice? For example, if you overhear your good friend saying hateful, racist comments, do you stand by and watch or intervene?
To promote “social justice,” the right choice would be to step in and protect the ones being targeted, as Jesus once did. To do the right thing – to cut off and correct a friend – is that something easy to do? True justices should shine through and make anything bearable, because a true friend will acknowledge their mistake and correct themselves.
With that being said, the social “loving” aspect isn’t the only side. Proverbs 21:15 reads, “When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.”
From this angle, justice is seen as fixing something, “literal justice”. In this case, justice is the “cold, hard truth.” Jesus promoted this in the Bible multiple times, one of the primary examples being the “cleansing” of the Temple of Jerusalem.
In Matthew 21:12-13, Matthew writes, “Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there…‘It is written,’ he said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
Jesus is “righting a wrong” here as he alerts the people what the true message of God is supposed to be. Even though he might not do it through the right form, through anger and revenge, he promotes justice.
In modern times, justice is characterized through Lady Justice, a figure who is blindfolded with a scale in one hand and a sword in the other. Justice. Fairness. Balance. The figure is seen blindfolded to emphasize the point of impartial justice, bias not muddling the true law being served. Justice is the underlying motto that runs the United States to this day.