MEANING TO MEDITATE TO CONFORM: “injustice”

MEANING TO MEDITATE TO CONFORM: “INJUSTICE” 

This series of blogs on “MEANING TO MEDITATE TO CONFORM” is our invitation to you to come along and slowly think through these words so that we conform to the nature and character of God.  We will present a word each week to meditate on and conform our hearts. 

WORLD DEFINITION 

The world and society tell us that “to violate someone’s rights” is “injustice.”  In our world, the word means “social justice” and is all about someone’s rights.  It is now a political word.  It is a societal word.  It is an injustice for men and women to be paid differently.  It is injustice for one human being to own another and by extension, racism is an injustice.  It is injustice for one to kill another (sometimes).  A person wrongfully imprisoned for a crime not committed is injustice.  There is a sense of inequality at the core of injustice. 

Christians (and some others) would look at some of the societal issues above and include abortion, for example, as an injustice.  Others would argue that abortion is a right and perhaps even health care and so in the world the definition of ‘injustice’ changes with the morality of the person defining it or their political party.   

CHURCH/FOLK DEFINITION 

In the Church, many folks have thought and prayed and studied injustice and in many ways become champions against injustice.  In general, the Church is an adversary to injustice and those actions, attitudes, and social ills that fall into the category of injustice.   

Thomas Aquinas, in “Summa Theologica, Question 59, Of Injustice” devotes some good effort in thinking about injustice and states (in summary here): 

Injustice is inequality (justice is equality) and therefore is a sin. 

Injustice is contrary to all virtues. 

Injustice is against the common good and leads to all kinds of sin. 

A person who does an unjust thing should be called unjust. 

A person may do something unjust unintentionally and in passion and this is not unjust.  Intentionality and choice make injustice. 

Suffering injustice is an act of another’s will against our will. 

Injustice is contrary to the Law of God. 

Augustine of Hippo in “City of God” chapter 36 states: “Now every man who lies commits an injustice; and if any man thinks that a lie is ever useful, he must think that injustice is sometimes useful.” 

So traditionally, in the Church, it is not as personal, but more abstract.  We do not always think about what “we” do to others, but it is indeed the same thing.  Injustice is seen as on a societal level which is a mistake.  Stopping one’s own sin is the emphasis that needs to be made.  We do not understand how unjust we are on a daily basis.  Sin is the root of injustice.  People must keep their foundation in God and resist sin for this leads to injustice… all the time. 

BIBLE/THEOLOGICAL INFLUENCE 

The Bible says in Proverbs 22:8 “Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail.”  Wise King Solomon shares with us that the action of iniquity causes injustice.  The embrace of corruption is our default failed state.  People deal with the sinful nature and at all times are dealing with injustice.  We actually see this take place in the life and death of Jesus… He reaped calamity… but He did not fail to act justly in the middle of it. 

NOTE: Jesus Christ did not consider equality with God something to hold onto but humbled Himself and in the midst of sin… injustice… acted justly every single time.  It was a hard road.  Jesus did point out injustice, but He acted rightly and showed the way to justice. 

MEANING 

If you want a handle on this, we are better off focusing on what the Bible says and the example of Jesus.  We need to de-politicize the word and Biblicize it.  Injustice is fallen-ness.  Injustice is sinful.  To change ways, mercy and grace and right living must be emphasized to build back better.  Jesus shows mercy and is the core example of fighting injustice. 

Injustice is in fact NOT loving your neighbor as yourself in any manner.  Injustice is the act of not being far, but even deeper it is the act and attitude and way of living that is selfish.  “Self” is at the core of injustice.  Injustice covers purposely being cruel to get ahead or knowingly being hateful, but also any situation where ‘self’ impedes another. 

Psalm 22, quoted by Jesus Christ on the cross, recounts for us in a prophetic way the greatest injustice.  Jesus quotes Psalm 22:1 and cries out in the midst of God the Father forsaking Him on the cross.  The Son of God was put to death and this is the greatest injustice.  He died for our sin.  He died for our selfishness.  It was Jesus Who showed the way as He personally acted justly in the midst of injustice.  Christ is justice and the example of fighting against injustice.  Even more, He is merciful. 

The best way to counter injustice is by personally being just. 

This series of blogs on “MEANING TO MEDITATE TO CONFORM” is our invitation to you to come along and slowly think through these words so that we conform to the nature and character of God.  We will present a word each week to meditate on and conform our hearts. 

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