Justice: Using the Weights in Our Bag

Meditations in Motion

A just balance and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are his work. Proverbs 16:11.

I saw this verse from Proverbs in a daily devotional I receive by email each morning and thought about it for a long time. It languished in my list of potential writing topics for months while I tried to resolve how to say what I wanted to say on the subject. I am committed to considering balance this year, and this verse seemed especially relevant.

Then I read a wonderful book (The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott) and, like most good books do, it clarified my thinking and opened my mind and heart on the matter. The words came haltingly, at first, but eventually, they did begin to flow.

Most of us are committed to justice. Even if we are not a believer in karma, the concept appeals to our sense of fairness. There is a well-known verse from Galatians that discusses reaping and sowing (Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.) that is often quoted in circumstances when it seems as though the universe has dispensed equity.

When we hear of an instance of “what goes around comes around“, we sagely nod our heads and revel in the concept of cosmic fair play.

Meditations in Motion

The only problem is that we interpret these quotes in the wrong way. Life isn’t fair. The universe does not dispense karmic justice. Children are abused, tsunamis sweep homes away, unethical individuals make obscene amounts of money by gaming the system, and bad things do happen to good people.

The point of the quote from Proverbs is that justice belongs to God; not necessarily here on earth. The justice that we have here may be inspired by God, but it comes from our own innate human sense of fairness.

Meditations in Motion

And that is the good news. Life may be unfair, but (most) people are not. Studies have shown that even small children have a sense of what is fair. If researchers dispense uneven amounts of candy to two children, the child with the most candy will usually give some of his candy to the child with the least.

Not only that, we often will stand up for others who are being treated unfairly, sometimes at great personal expense, even if the unfair treatment does not immediately affect us. We do not tolerate injustice.

A just balance is the Lord’s and ultimately only He has the knowledge and power to judge, but in the temporal world, it’s up to us. Generosity, altruism, and egalitarianism guide us toward justice. They are the tools we have to work with, the weights in our bag.

*It is my plan to document the arrival of spring here in this corner of Southeastern Pennsylvania through the progression of blooming flowers. This is the sixth picture in the series. The flowers pictured above are Daffodils (Narcissus). These are my favorite flowers. I love their color, scent, and the fact that their blooming represents (to me) the true arrival of spring.

 

I am linking with Cee’s FOTD Challenge, Welcome Heart for Let’s Have Coffee, Soaring with Him for Recharge Wednesday, Debbie at Dare 2 Hear, Reflections From Me for A Blogging Good Time, Crystal Storms for Heart Encouragement, Rachel Marie Lee, Knit by God’s Hand for Thankful Thursdays, Jessica and Amy at Live Life Well, Raisie Bay for Word of the Week, Susan B Mead for Dancing With Jesus, Embracing the Unexpected for Grace and Truth, Counting My Blessings for Faith ‘n Friends, Lyli Dunbar for Faith on Fire, and Worth Beyond Rubies.

Please click on the following link to read more funny or inspirational one-liners. One-Liner Wednesday.

1LinerWed

 

 

 

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58 comments

  1. Wonderful post. We all are creations of God. Some of us are a .little better at using the gifts he gave us that show Christ to others like the children sharing candy before they LEARN maybe not to. There was a post on Pinterest that follows along this line that says – Love them all, I will sort it out later. He is the balancer of all things.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is good to know that people are looking out for their fellow man because listening to the headlines of the news, you really start to wonder. You don’t want to delve too deep in any stories for fear of what you might uncover. Your flowers are sure Springy-looking Laurie. I took some pictures of the neighborhood where a few flowers were trying to poke up through the snow, while looking for the gentleman’s house with the cold-weather pansies … he was smart not to plant them yet. I was amazed there was as much green as there was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, listening to or reading the news does make you wonder sometimes, doesn’t it, Linda? Those pansies look beautiful now. I hope we don’t get a late-season cold snap or snow that kills them all!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the local news is just as bad Laurie. About a mile and a quarter from me, in broad daylight, two guys beat up on a young man. They wanted money – he said he had none, so they wanted his Puma high-top shoes. The beat him and kicked him in the head while he was curled in a fetal position. Then ran away. Passersby called 911 and he was in very bad shape. Police said it happens all the time along Fort Street – that is the end of my street. I live 8 houses from this busy street. In the past I have walked to the dentist, bank, City Hall to pay taxes, or hair salon … all along Fort Street. The police say it is happening all along Fort Street. I will stick to just walking to the Park and in the Park. Very sad to read both items – the beating and the street being unsafe. I will look for this guy’s pansies – they are always a treat to see.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve not seen anything in the local newspaper, just the crime forums … people share what they see happening … this was just brutal Laurie. No more errands on that street anymore … best to take the car. Luckily the park is the opposite way.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I continue to be amazed at the miracles of God’s balance in our lives. Good and bad. I sure wouldn’t want the job. Your daffodils are beautiful. I’m glad you’re sharing photos – it’ll be a month or so before I see any of those lovely flowers popping up through the ground where I live.

    Liked by 1 person

      • LOL – we can certainly add our opinions, that’s our right as humans to have thoughts about how things are going or not going. Me too – glad you’re taking time to enjoy the sprouts as they appear!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the most challenging aspects of faith for me is bowing to God’s timeline and acknowledging that, ultimately, justice will be done, but perhaps not in my lifetime, and certainly not by my rules. And I know this strengthens my faith muscles, but oh, the ache.

    (It’s snowing here today . . .)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, Michele. Why do I sometimes think I have a better plan than God? My hubris gets me in trouble sometimes.

      So sorry about the snow. I am so ready for spring. Hoping for no April surprises!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Ah, unfairness in the world. This is always something that is so hard to grapple with. I understand your view point, and even though I do have a deep faith, and understand that much of the world’s problems are brought about by free will, it’s still very difficult to reconcile why bad things happen to good people. Innocent people.

    And yet I do believe that things happen for a reason.

    More & more foliage is appearing from bulbs . . . still waiting on actual flowers and leaves. I guess you have to be happy noticing the small things! There’s a lesson in that, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m glad the words began to flow so you could provide thoughts for me to ponder. I had a former administrator tell me all the time that “fair is not equal” and at the time it used to really bother me. The context she used it in and her meaning behind it did not ingratiate me toward her but I have a better understanding now.

    I also look to blooming daffodils as the true sign that spring has sprung. We are not quite there, but oh so close.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As a former teacher, I can understand what you mean about the administrator. We try to achieve fairness. It doesn’t always happen.

      Daffodils are the true sign of spring for me. The smaller flowers like crocus are just the prelude to spring! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So much to think about here, Laurie. Many people ask these questions about what is fair and what is not. But as you’ve reminded us here, ultimately, judgment belongs to God. Thanks for sharing. Many blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Great thoughts here. Reminds me of my mom saying, Life isn’t fair. And that is a hard thing to learn as a child that no matter how much you want it to be and try to make it fair, life really isn’t fair. It is comforting that people want fairness.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I think the evening news is geared toward the negative. Who did what today. What’s the latest tragedy or scandal. I’d like to watch a good news show about all the wonderful things good folks are doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Clearly the Scripture passage you read percolated deeply through your mind and spirit, because you articulate this so well. Life is not fair: true indeed, but that doesn’t let us humans off the hook.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jan. I knew I wanted to say something about the verse, I just couldn’t figure out what. Yes, humans want (and expect) fairness, but the universe churns out random events. Fairness is not a given. It is up to us to institute fairness whenever we can.

      Like

  10. The verse that kept coming to mind as I read this post, was Psalm 73. This one is written from the viewpoint of someone who sees the wicked seeming to gain things dishonestly without any repercussions. And, in the end, God reveals that He deals with the wicked, either on this side of heaven or the other. He is a just God. I have found comfort in this truth, because I know He does deal with each person, and it’s not my job to worry about how He’ll do that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, exactly, Jeanne. It is up to God to dispense justice, not me. I am not all-seeing and all-knowing as He is. To me, it does sometimes seem like people who “clothe themselves with violence” prosper.

      Like

  11. Beautiful daffodils! I grew up on Daffodil Court, so Mom always planted daffodils.
    I stopped watching the news a long while ago also. We will have to wait for Jesus to return to see real justice on this earth! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a lot of daffodils planted and just cut a bunch so they are perfuming the inside of my house right now. I love how they smell! Daffodil Court sound like a beautiful place to grow up!

      I don’t usually watch the news, but Hubby does, so I catch a glimpse sometimes. I usually wish I wouldn’t have.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Beautiful daffodils. As someone who often feels that I must have done something really awful to deserve the awful things that have happened to me it took a long time for me to accept that bad things happen to good people. Very interesting post and something I feel I needed to read right now. Peace be with you and thanks for linking up to #wotw. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, no! I am sure you did nothing awful! Bad things DO happen to good people. I am so glad the post could give you something that you needed. Thank you for the chance to link!

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  13. Love that you had the PATIENCE to wait for the right time to post your thoughts on that particular verse, Laurie!

    Well done.. and well said. 🙂

    I think though, that life IS ‘fair’ although we humans more often than not aren’t. Life treats us with no regard for status. As the Lord sends his rain to fall on the Just and the Unjust alike. Natural disasters for example could hit anyone, rich or poor, Christian or Atheist, American or African alike.

    That is seems to treat some people unfairly is more due to our own personal bias than the way life ‘is’ i feel. I’m thinking on the overall scale than that of an individual, or group, of course. Each of us has an individual path we have to follow, with it’s own opportunities for glory or for disaster. What counts is how we handle, and if possible, overcome them. Just as we are to put everyhting to the test, so to does God test and ‘weigh’ us to see what is truly within us all. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! I don’t know if it was patience or just writers’ block!

      Life does treat us with no regard for status, but bad things do happen to good people. Rain falls on all of us, but some individuals receive more than their fair share of the rain.

      Some situations we have the ability to overcome, but some we just have to deal with. Or not. Some people cannot handle the “rain” that life sends to them. I think you and I have to agree to disagree about God’s “testing”. If God knows what is in our hearts, why does He need to test? The answer is already known to Him.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Completely agree that on an INDIVIDUAL basis life can seem (to be) unfair – some do indeed have more to ‘deal’ with than others. Some parts of the world are more prone to disaster than others, Some more prone to despotic leaders than others, etc.

        On the human race level however i think there is more balance/fairness. There are some who prosper ‘above’ normal and some who suffer ‘above’ normal but most of us go along somewhere in between the extremes.

        I don’t believe God ‘tests’ us for His ‘benefit’ but for ours. God made Lucifer, Lucifer was the ‘brightest’ of all the Angels, but rebellion was in his heart and he convinced a 1/3rd of the Heavenly Host to join with him in the rebellion.

        If it can happen with Angels, it can (and did) happen with his lesser creation, man.

        God sets us (all of us) ‘tests’ so we learn the price to be paid for rebellion against God’s Will for us and decide for ourselves if we do His Will down here while on Earth, or our own. We have the chance while here to see that all our actions have consequences and also to see that we do not know ‘everything’ or what can happen in the future, and so determine what our ‘fate’ will be for ourselves.

        God does not ‘spare’ those who make a choice to follow Christ’s word (bad things do happen to good people) from testing times to show us how strong our trust and faith needs to be. Some tend to become ‘complacent’ believing that God will ‘protect’ them and guarantee then a life in Heaven no matter what they do, if they think they are doing as they THINK He Wills, instead of doing what He actually Wills us to do. (Love God, Love thy neighbour as thyself).

        Following God’s Will has to be a ‘free’, fair, but unfailing and unegotistical choice of our will – it’s the last part that is the hardest. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Having just read through the discussion here;
    I think the Narnia series brings this into perspective for us… we are born ‘sons of Adam & daughters of Eve’…we inherited their physical & spiritual DNA, therefore none of us are innocent…
    It’s only through coming into that right relationship with Jesus are we seen through Him with our heavenly Father.

    Your right Laurie justice is God’s, evil things are done in this world but each has to come before Him…saved & unsaved alike so those who perpetuate evil will meet God’s justice in the end.

    I do like the old saying though ‘it only takes good men to do nothing for evil to persist”. There are a lot of honorable men & women working extremely hard to prevent the unfairness of evil upon this earth & bring those perpetrators to earthly justice.
    Thought provoking post!
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, you are so right – there are a lot of people working to counteract the effects of evil in this world. Thank goodness! Even though sometimes the fight against evil may seem hopeless, it is important for good people to not give up hope. God’s light shines through each one of us. Some of us more brightly than others!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Such a good verse and a great topic! I love that you are documenting spring with flower pictures. Daffodils are my favorite as well, for that same reason! I am not a huge fan of winter and so those first flowers truly make my heart sing!

    Thanks for linking up @LiveLifeWell!

    Blessings,

    Amy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Amy. I am glad I finally figured out what I wanted to say about the verse. I have been sooo ready for spring for about 2 months now! 🙂 Thanks for giving us the chance to share.

      Like

  16. I am comforted by the fact that I can trust the unfairness that I experience in this life into the hands of the just Judge who cares for me. I need to learn how He wants me to be an instrument of godly justice in His hands in my sphere of influence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh no! 2 feet of snow?!?! we are leaving next week to babysit our grandson in Colorado. There is about the same amount of snow in his yard too. I am hoping for some quick melting!

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  17. I feel it is so easy to see injustice and suffering everywhere, and it is, but there are so many more good people than bad, and I love that even children can understand what fairness is. Thanks for linking up #ABloggingGoodTime

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree: there are so many more good people than bad. Unfortunately, the bad ones get a lot of attention. Children have an inherent sense of fairness. I could see that when I was a school teacher. They are often outraged when they perceive something unfair has occurrred.

      Like

  18. I like reading your thoughts. Honestly, I quit watching the news years ago because it made me feel like there was nothing good left in the world. This would shock many people because that means that I may not know what’s going on in the world all the time. To me the cost was worth the peace of mind. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I can see why you pondered it, very thoughtful scripture. He does hold things in the balance and has the weights. Nice.

    Also, to answer your question on my blog about reading the old and new testament. My Women’s Daily Devotional that I bought when I first decided to actually read the Bible through has chapters from the Old, chapters from the New, Psalms scriptures, and also Proverbs. It is KJV Bible verses. I used it the first year, then hadn’t for a few, but back to it now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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