Today I’m sharing a newsletter written for his congregation by The Rev. Dr. William (Bill) Fisackerly, senior pastor of Gulf Cove United Methodist Church, Port Charlotte, Florida, for his congregation. His doctoral study, at Asbury Theological Seminary, was on the subject of “Worship Wars,” but this article reflections on God's view of justice in light of the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin trial.
When our children were growing up, MANY times we would hear them say, “That’s not fair!” In reality, there was no inequality happening; they just didn’t like the end result. Our response was often, “It’s not that it’s not fair, it’s just that you don’t like it.” With the recent exposure of the case against George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin, there have been cries for justice. Which “justice” we want depends upon our point of view. The question I have to ask myself is, “What is God’s view of justice?”
The Hebrew word “mishpat” is used over 200 times in the Old Testament. It means, not only treating all persons equitably and judging solely on the basis of the evidence, but also ensuring that everyone receives their due or right. This terminology is most frequently used in reference to the widows, the orphans, immigrants, and the poor – those who had no legal rights to speak for themselves in Jewish society. They were considered leeches on society, as less than human because they either had no wealth to contribute or were born somewhere else.
The rich and the citizens didn’t consider that they were being unjust; they felt that they had earned their own rights and that others should, too. The prophets, however, believed that rights were not earned, they were inherent in being human, regardless of nationality, wealth, or social status. That is why most prophecy concerns the outcasts of society, with God taking the side of the poor. Until there is true justice, there can be no real peace. Any “peace” we try to set up that is not based upon God’s concept of justice will not last, and will lead to more pain and suffering.
What are we doing to bring justice? Do we spend most of our time with people just like us, or do we deliberately seek out those who are different? If we believe that all people were created by God and loved by Him, how can we harbor any prejudice towards anyone?