Can Real Justice be Biased?

Posted on February 9, 2016 in Justice

Real justice takes sides with the defenseless
It depends on the context.

In matters of civil dispute and criminal wrongdoing, impartiality in finding fault and proportionality in meting out consequences—with the intent to restore, not destroy—is the foundation of making things right.

Yet in matters of how wealth, resources, and power are distributed in society, real justice sometimes requires a different posture, an intentional partiality toward the interests of some people over others.

God sometimes shows bias. He balances the scale by taking sides with the defenseless.

Both the Old and New Covenants God made with His people give special attention toward disadvantaged people, in particular widows, orphans, the poor, and “alien” ethnic groups. He also shows special concern for the imprisoned, the sick and infirmed, the emotionally wounded, and the spiritually oppressed.

God sometimes shows bias. He balances the scale by taking sides with the defenseless.

Yet…when I ponder the list of people for whom He has special care, it casts a large net.

In addition to writing, I work with my wife to lead a Healing Rooms ministry in our community. Twice a week for the last five years, our team has prayed for body, soul, and spirit healing with people who fit into every category in God’s special care list.

It’s common to think of what we do as “charitable” work. Giving up our time and resources to care for people in need.

Helping Those In Need

It’s more. It’s an act of justice. Helping people receive healing and freedom releases them to complete the good works God prepared for them to do. It contributes to moving our community in the direction God intends for us. To making things right.

We serve people across the socio-economic spectrum. It’s easy to think that because God singles out the poor and defenseless, He doesn’t pay attention to the well-off.

But who is well-off? Jesus said to His church in Smyrna, “I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich!” And, to His church in Laodicea, “You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.

We are all defenseless and in need of protection somewhere. God balances everyone’s scale.