23 Apr (Part 2) Maintain Justice, Do Right
By Ps Pax Tan
AsiaCMS Board of Trustees
The call to do justice and to do what is right is as clear as daylight, but the dark clouds of unjust acts and storms of injustice are prevalent and present; frightening and threatening. To speak up and to stand up against injustice is never easy, especially when the prevailing environment does not conform to acts of justice and impartiality.
To be honest in business practices is just, so when dishonesty is tolerated or done then it is unjust. Impartial courts are just, but when judgments are prejudiced and selective, it is unjust. Where corruption is practised and accepted as a norm, injustice reigns, the poor and needy suffer. Discrimination, racism, selective prosecution and oppression of the poor and weak are also unjust. And such are circumstances in which many in different parts of the world live in.
Yet, the will and words of God are clearly written with so many examples of the standards of justice, the call for justice, the maintenance of justice – for us to practice and live out in courage, love and righteousness. We need to fight injustice, speak truth to lies, deceit, and corruption, do good in spite of the evil that lingers and permeates; maintain justice and do what is right.
“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. (Reprove the ruthless) Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” – Isaiah 1;16,17.
In all essence, God is calling us to repentance. In his searing imperative for doing justice, he reminds us that it is a response to the evil deeds that are prevalent in society and in us. He demands primarily justice, not sacrifices or prayers first (Isaiah 1:10-15). The people of God must get rid of the injustice and do good and right. The upholding of justice must be seen and done, made public, felt and received, acknowledged and executed!
The above verbs of Isaiah 1:16, the injunction of Yahweh to the Israelites who were manifesting injustices like the oppression of the poor, violence, homicide, greed, discrimination of foreigners, corrupt governance, bribery, graft, corrupt judges, ineffective and incompetent enforcement, immorality, kleptocracy and abandon cum hypocritical religious leaders; can give us some encouragement and pointers to persevere in our actions in doing what is right and maintaining justice.
Learn to do right – it is a process; acquire knowledge and skills, study cases, cooperate with others who are doing the same.
Seek justice – desire to pursue, do your homework. Be prepared for the long haul to achieve the objective, be ready to ask for help, align with like-minded people, beg if you have to (remember the parable of the persistent widow? Luke 18:1-8), to petition, to pray hard…
Defend (Encourage) the oppressed – to protect, safeguard; build-up, recruit resources – legal, custodial, residential, authorities, NGOs. Be ready to resist attack.
Reprove (Rebuke) the Oppressor; or Correct oppression – there is room to fight back morally, legally; call the person out, name and shame, show who is in the wrong or is acting unjustly.
Take up… – be open to cases, and situations to help and intervene, a spirit of walking the extra mile, to listen to the cries and needs of people wronged and bullied. “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” – Proverbs 31:8,9.
Plead… – the widows like the orphans, including the strangers and the poor, were the weakest and vulnerable in society, and the administration of justice in the Old Testament was geared towards helping them to secure their claims and grievances. They need advocacy, especially judicially, when they cannot get their just hearing, domestically or in the courts. Do appeal to peoples’ emotions, use social media, look for avenues to proclaim, present and argue the case
Words and Deeds
Jesus is proclaimed, in fulfilment of the prophet Isaiah,
“Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out; or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice, he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law, the nations will put their hope.” – (Isaiah 42:1-4; Matthew 12:17-21).
Jesus with the endowed Spirit of God, will proclaim or bring justice to the nations, and establish justice on the earth; in response, the nations will put their hope in this justice – the rule of law, of God, of Jesus… is happening, and will come to pass.
In these most unprecedented and dark times of the COVID-19 pandemic, where peoples of all nations are infected and affected by this new virus that spells death, and destruction to economic and social spheres all across the world; let us do what is just and right, in the midst of all the concerted medical and political and religious responses.
We know that in such times and circumstances, it is the poor and needy that will suffer the most. Let us focus, as people called by this God of justice and righteousness, by the God of compassion and grace, upon the many many who will especially bare the negative consequences of the quarantines and lockdowns, abandon from the loss of jobs and livelihoods…. Let us help them.
It will seem a daunting task. Do it to one person, one family at a time. Or more… We are not alone, be on God’s side, He is a God of justice and compassion. There are others who will share our convictions and will do justice, show compassion and march with us as we with them.
Doing Justice and Working Righteousness is a very holy and spiritual thing. “But the LORD Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts.” – Isaiah 5:16.