Chances are that at some point in your life you’ve heard this sentence: sorry, kid, but life’s not fair. Your sister didn’t have to do as many chores as you? Life’s not fair. Your parents are going to a party, but you have to stay home? Life’s not fair. Your friends get an allowance, but you don’t? Life’s not fair.
We all feel like life should be a certain way, things should be fair, people should get fair treatment… but that’s not how the world works, is it? And when it’s not just allowances and chores on the line, we have a different word for fairness: we call it justice.
Justice is more serious and complex than fairness. Fairness means giving the same thing to everyone, while justice means understanding an imbalanced situation and figuring out exactly what needs to be done to bring balance. True justice is hard to achieve and it never just happens. Usually, a person or a group is given the responsibility of making the world more just. For most of world history, one person (a king or queen) was the ultimate authority on justice in a country.
Here’s the trouble: those kings and queens didn’t always do a great job. Even famous rulers in the Bible, people like King David or Queen Esther, made huge mistakes. They were biased and selfish. They failed. Today, we have different authorities and systems, but the story is the same: humans and manmade systems fail. Sometimes, it seems like true justice will never really be done.
Remember how we talked about how good God is? How He’s so good that he’s like the best dad ever? Good news: there’s even more to God’s goodness than that. Because of God’s goodness, he’s the perfect judge and authority figure. He’s the perfect king—and he cares a lot about justice. In God’s kingdom, justice means to reclaim something for its designed intent. God’s justice isn’t just about balancing out brokenness, it’s about restoring righteousness and wholeness to a world that’s affected by sin.
In the Bible, God is talking to his people about justice and he says, “I hate all your show and pretense—the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.” (Amos 5:21-24)
God is telling his people to forget about all of the bells and whistles of faith and focus on one thing: fighting for justice. Easier said than done, right? How do you do that when you’re a kid trying to get through the school day and not a king on a throne? Good question.
In Psalm 23, God makes us a promise: if we follow him, he’ll guide us along right paths and help us to bring honor to his name. That means that if we’re willing to follow him where he’s going, He will guide us into doing true justice.
If you want to learn to fight for justice, the first step is to ask God to open your eyes to injustice and give you the strength to live righteously. Try praying this every day this week: God, I want to fight for your justice. Today, help me to see where justice needs to be done and what I can do to help. Help me to see the world through your eyes and give me the strength to do what you would do. Amen.