All too often we find ourselves whining and complaining about our lack of this and that. “Where is the justice in this?” My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
“With liberty and justice for all!” Thus closes out our pledge of allegiance to the flag. I think that this last line of the pledge is often misinterpreted unfortunately. Many see it as a promise that there is somehow an endless supply that can’t be depleted as if it’s magically maintained without danger of depletion. The phrase is, however, preceded by the statement: “One nation, under God, indivisible . . .” When we proclaim this pledge we are, in essence, saying: We are declaring ourselves to be part of a whole as a citizen of a Republic. As such we are offering something to it and taking something from it. If we do that, the Republic is sustained and will remain for generations to come. Although there are times when a majority will give more and take less so that a minority may benefit, the rule of thumb is equity. The bounty of freedom and justice may be depleted if care isn’t taken to regard it with at least a modicum of common sense maintenance. In that respect, liberty and justice can’t be dispensed without an effort to resupply. Taxes are a part of that and a great deal of self-sacrifice, especially when it comes to maintaining national security and overcoming threats to the Republic. Justice and liberty have a price, therefore. They are not free, they are bought. When they are missing no amount of agonizing will bring them back. There is no “poor me” in that regard, only “see me regain the richness I have lost.”
For a Christian it’s no different. All too often we find ourselves whining and complaining about our lack of this and that. “Where is the justice in this?” We ask. God’s response is that as a partaker in his grace it is indeed our free and boundless gift, but only because Christ has paid the price that was required to make it so. There was an eternal filling that allowed the endless dispensing. The price may have been paid, but the cost remains forever dear. As Christians we will always share in the cost since Christ has asked us to do so; to take his burden and follow him.
Here’s a thought from Oswald Chambers: “The thing that makes us whimper is that we will look for justice. If you look for justice in your Christian work you will soon put yourself in a bandage and give way to self-pity and discouragement. Never look for justice, but never cease to give it; and never allow anything you meet with to sour your relationship to men through Jesus Christ.” (Oswald Chambers, Approved Unto God, 16R.)
The opposite of justice is injustice. Is God’s grace always just? Martin Luther put it this way: “I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess.” I guess it depends on how one defines justice. Is it just that I get cancer and you don’t? Is it just that you may be retired but I’m not. Where is the justice between acuity or dementia, war or peace, riches or poverty? From a human standpoint, one based solely on the our own well-being, there is none. Justice from God’s point of view however is this: While grace is free and we possess it without payment of any sort, justice is costly; an ongoing work of sweat equity on the part of every Christian. God seeks a balance in his dispensary of justice, just as our Republic requires it. He requires input and output. A Christian needs to dispense justice with equity in order to experience justice in return. Sometimes we mete out more than we receive. As long as God owns the transaction, we have no complaint. Christ didn’t, why should we?
We pray. Thank you Lord for your unbounded, free and rich grace in Jesus Christ our Lord. Forgive us Father when we complain about fairness and justice in this life, especially in things that we feel we need or want. Remind us daily that your justice in that grace is a commodity that we share in with Christ. It is a costly thing and sometimes you ask more of us in hardship than we seem to gain in return. Let us, like Christ, never complain. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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