It’s Day 2 of my month of practicing in public, and I decided to tackle one of the more challenging prompts from bibleconnectionnews.com. Yes, I have finally gotten the name of the website where I got these prompts from correct. 🙂
First, here is the prompt. “Just as the Israelites did in Ezekiel’s day, people today sometimes say God isn’t or life isn’t fair. They ask how God could send people to hell – especially those who try to do good. The truth is that everyone has sinned, and all deserve punishment. It is only through God’s grace and Jesus’ sacrificial death that people can ask for forgiveness and be saved. How do you define justice? How do you define grace?”
Those are tough questions. Before I try to define them, let’s see how the dictionary defines them. First, justice. “the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness.” Another definition would be “rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason.”
Now, grace. “favor or goodwill.” “mercy; clemency; pardon.” And my favorite, “the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.”
There were more definitions of each, but I picked the ones that were most relevant to what I wanted to talk about. When I saw the word equitableness in the definition of justice, I thought of what justice is supposed to be–equal. No matter what crime has been committed, there should be an equal punishment for the crime. It shouldn’t matter who you are, how much money you have, or whether you know someone of influence. The punishment should be equal for everyone. But, we all know it isn’t. We’ve heard stories of people who’ve stayed in prison for years for a particular crime and stories of other people who have walked out of court on probation for the same crime. Some of you might have even been affected by unequal justice yourselves. I don’t know if there is a way to solve this problem, but we should keep trying.
I think part of the solution might lie in grace. There are words in the definitions of grace that we are all familiar with–favor, goodwill, mercy, clemency. Words that we like when they’re extended our way, but words that we have a hard time extending to others. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be consequences for a crime because God does call for consequences. I’m just saying we should be more willing to extend grace and more willing to call for equal justice where the situation merits it.
We could go on and on about solving the problems of justice and grace here, but my point is to define them. Justice and grace are imperfect in this world and will always be imperfect (though we can do our best to make it better). This is because our world is and will continue to be imperfect until Jesus comes.
So, my definitions of justice and grace come through God. All of us are sinners and deserve God’s justice. He should have destroyed us long ago because of our sins. But, He didn’t. As it says in the prompt, “it is only through God’s grace and Jesus’ sacrificial death that people can ask for forgiveness and be saved.” Those are my definitions of justice and grace. God’s justice that I deserve covered by God’s grace that I don’t deserve. Thank you, God!
God’s blessings on all of you today!