That is wrong! Such a bold declaration escapes our lips, hurled toward anything that assaults our sense of what is right. We can react with a visceral conviction that can passionately erupt from deep within. We think justice has been served when someone is made to pay for their transgression of the law.
“But is this what justice means to God?”
‘Justice is served’ just wasn’t lining up with what I was reading in my Bible! My heart’s cry was and is; Father, what does justice mean to you?
His answer is simply beautiful, continually revealing His passion to restore us through the offering of Himself.
“In His humiliation His justice was removed.” Acts 8:33
Humiliation means to reduce to a lower position in one’s own eyes or other’s eyes; to make someone ashamed, or embarrassed.
To take away someone’s justice is a proverbial phrase for oppression. Jesus was the willing victim of judicial murder. In the injustice of His humiliation and oppression He offers each one of us restoration as a gift attained through faith. In this gift God is giving us what we need (equity) for healing, transformation, and restoration of whole relationships.
Justice to God, rooted in equity, is restorative and relational.
His restorative healing work includes shalom (peace), hesed (Hebrew: loving kindness), and Mispat/Tsedqah (Hebrew: Justice), dikaiosune (Greek: Justice/Righteousness). Most New Testament translations use righteousness for the Greek word dikaiosune. Whether we use righteousness or justice the meaning is still the same – God’s divine judicial approval.
God is giving Himself to us so that we may flourish in a state of how we ought to be, but could never be on our own, in a condition acceptable by God.
One of my favorite examples of Jesus giving justice as equity and declaring someone acceptable by God is found in the story of the woman with the issue of blood. Her healing is placed in juxtaposition to the Synagogue leader who’s only daughter had died. The un-named woman has been battling with an isolating condition (an issue of blood) that deems her as unclean and unable to be near others, in relationship within the community of Israelites – God’s chosen people!
Jesus had decided he would go to heal Jarius’ daughter but he had a lesson to teach everyone about restorative justice…
She said to herself; “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” Matthew 9:21
Jesus is on mission. Moving forward through the crowds he feels power radiating from himself and stops to see who touched him. The woman who touched him cowered in fear among the crowds that had shunned her for twelve years!
Jesus stops, turns around and when he saw her … he restores her with His response: “Daughter, be of good cheer, your faith has made you well, go in peace.” (Matthew 9:22)
DAUGHTER!!! Jesus/God just called this un-named woman, with an isolating issue, daughter. He has taken her from isolation to community. Instead of her condition making Him unclean, He has made her perfectly clean. He has restored her to a place that she could never be on her own, and that no one else could give her. The needs of a Synagogue leader did not come before this outcast woman. Jesus is showing us that all are of equal value to Him. He is giving each justice (equity) what they need to flourish in whole relationship with God and each other. He is approving her!
In the Kingdom of God, ushered in by Jesus’ who in humiliation willingly had his justice removed, we find healing, transformation and restoration. In Jesus we obtain what we need to be in relationship with God and with others. What area of your life needs the restorative justice of God?
This series will explore various scriptures and teachings from Jesus that speak about restorative justice. I pray that God is seen for who He really is for all who read these articles. He is so … really indescribable!!