"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices - mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law - justice, mercy and faithfulness." (Matthew 23:23)
How we love to control what we can control and let go by what we can't. How well I understand this. This is the diversion of religion, and when Christianity becomes just a religion, we get all taken up with things like going to church, reading our Bibles and praying while missing the bigger issues of the heart - things that color all that we do and say. Jesus mentions three of those things here: justice, mercy and faith.
The first one, justice, is sorely missing in conservative Christianity today and has been for some time. I admittedly know little about it and I have been around Christian ministry all my life.
Years ago, in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the church let the world take up the banner of justice and we haven't done much about it since. Yet Jesus mentions it as one of three important things for us not to miss. How many sermons besides those of Martin Luther King, Jr., admonished us as followers of Christ to treat everyone adequately, fairly, and with full appreciation - and that's just one aspect of justice. There are many more.
I think we get confused over this sometimes because justice is often paired with its social counterpart to create social justice - something that has more to do with the laws of the land than with individual responsibility. That may be obliquely related to what Jesus was talking about here, but I think He meant something more attached to the heart, and how each one of us thinks about and treats other people.
We are going to look more into this in the coming days, but I must say that I am not as far along on this journey as many of you probably are, so bear with me. I have much to learn.
How can any follower of Jesus bypass what He has so clearly marked out as being an important matter? So please, teach me about justice. Write to me with some illustrations of what you have experienced as acts of justice or lack of it. Let's do this together. Marti believes that justice is going to play a big role in the next spiritual revolution and I, for one, don't want to miss it this time.