Situational irony. I’ve been asked to present a brief devotional thought based on a chapter from a book that presents problems for me.
The book is on social justice and the particular chapter I’ve been assigned is entitled “Why Should We Do Justice?” If you don’t find that ironic, let me remind you what I’ve said so far in this series of articles.
The problem with social justice is that it is based on justice.
The concept of justice as understood in modern culture is essentially self-centered.
Love, not justice, must be the foundation for addressing the problems of the world.
In all fairness to the author, I haven’t thoroughly explored his concepts. But a quick scan makes it appear that he takes the opposite view on all of these statements. The author speaks of justice as the end game. He sees justice as the ultimate in caring for others. And, he seems to say that simply asking people to love others is not sufficient because love does not provide sufficient motivation to achieve the purposes of justice.
I believe that the author and I want the same thing. We want to take care of people. We want to recognize the value of every individual. We want the basic needs of all to be met. We want others to join us in those initiatives.
The difference is really the underlying foundation of this whole series. The problem with social justice as it is trumpeted politically is that it is ultimately based on self-centered justice. “We have decided what is right and good based on what we want and what we think that we deserve. Justice enforces our standards. Everyone else should comply.”
I hope you’ll read the following statement very carefully.
Even though addressing social justice issues through the machine of justice is flawed, it is a necessary exercise while the world struggles to find a better way.
When I teach others about peace, I use a model that defines peace as an “equal balance of justice and mercy.” As we go deeper into that model, we can further say that peace requires a balance of concerns for self and for others.
Thus, if peace is to live up to its reputation as the most perfect of conditions (and it is, by the way), it seems to me that . . .
“Social Justice” must be balanced with “Social Mercy.”
In my next article, I will explore ways that social mercy leads to hope . . . and how hope paves a path toward a better way.(Photo courtesy of Shlomit Wolf at stock.xchng)