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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Biblical Justice

Image result for biblical justiceThe following devotion comes from Claire Richtmyer, United Methodist Women Coordinator for Spiritual Growth, Capitol South District, West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church.

What is Justice? One meaning is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion or equity. It is also the act of being just and or fair.

What does the Bible tell us about justice, called Biblical Justice? Biblical Justice involves making individuals, communities, and the world whole, by upholding both goodness and impartiality. The theology of justice flows from the heart of God.

Micah 6:8  “God 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.”

Justice flows from God’s heart and character and motivates God throughout the Old and New Testaments in his judgments on sin and injustice.

Proverbs 29:7  “…the righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.”

Image result for Proverbs 29:7Throughout scripture, God is the defender and protector of the poor, the alien, the debtor, the widow, and the orphan. Justice is part of God's purpose for redemption. Justice is also about restoring our broken relationship with God to what he intends for us. Our role in God's purposes for all his creatures and for the world he has made.

Biblical justice is the center of true religion.

James 1:27 (The Message)  “…Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this. Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.”

If we are trying to live a life in accordance with the Bible, we do justice when we treat all persons as creations of God. Doing justice includes not only righting wrongs but showing generosity and social concern especially to the poor and vulnerable. The just person lives a life of honesty, equity and generosity in every aspect of life.

A deep social conscience, and a life of service to others, especially the poor, is the inevitable sign of real faith. Justice is the most important feature of a real relationship with God.

Image result for James 1:27The God of the Bible is a God who puts the world to rights. We are called to do the same.

Let us pray:
O God, you are always more ready to hear us than we are to call on you.
Hear us now as we turn to you.

We pray that you will help us truly be your church by seeking to serve
those who are little, last, least and left behind.

We pray for our world in which many starve and struggle to survive
while others have far, far more than they need.

We pray for our nation and our leaders, that the cries of injustice
will be heard above the clamor of corporations,
the needs of the vulnerable will come before the desires of the lobbyists,
the priorities of the poor will come before the positions of the powerful.

We pray for our communities, that we move from complacency to caring and action.
We pray for ourselves, for the courage to care when discouragement overtakes us,
for the energy to act for justice when day-to-day demands occupy us.

Ever present God, you have heard our prayers in the silence of our hearts and you hear us now.
We confess that we have dulled our ears to the cries of all who are hungry.
We confess that we have hardened our hearts to the plight of millions
living in poverty and struggling to make ends meet.

We confess that we have dimmed our hopes for a more just world
and our ability to make a difference.

Sharpen our ears we pray, to hear the voices of injustice and your call to us.
Sharpen our hearts to show compassion to all who are struggling.
Raise our hopes for how we can help bend the arc toward justice
and work for the world that you intend. 

These things we ask in the name of Jesus who sided with the poor
and reflected your intentions for the reign of God.

Prayer adapted from “How Long Must I Cry for Help Bending the Arc for God’s Vision of Justice for Children” Children’s Sabbath, Children’s Defense Fund

What is Biblical Justice”, Paul Louis Metzger, Christianity Today Website
How the Bible Understands Justice”, Jim Wallace. On Faith Website

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