Sunday, December 20, 2009

What exactly does "justice" mean?

The Associated Press has posted an article on a so-called "evangelical church" in Denver. I say "so-called" because of the church's decision to embrace homosexuality as a legitimate Christian lifestyle. As I read the article it was clear that the church embraces the standard liberal positions on important matters. So there is not much of a story here. This is not a case of a truly evangelical church that has now come to embrace homosexuality.

The pastor says the church's decision is not a matter of "lenience but a matter of justice." So my question is, what does he mean by "justice"? I hear that word a lot in certain circles but it never seems to be in reference to God's justice. Usually what I hear described as justice sounds more like mercy. Mercy for the poor. Mercy for the marginalized.

Don't misunderstand. I am pro-justice. Well, I am pro-justice to a certain extent (I'll explain in a moment). God calls his people to do justice. We are to seek justice for the oppressed; for those who have been truly victimized. But I am concerned that there is often times a lack of clarity around what constitutes justice. When I hear it described by certain people it simply sounds like liberal economic policies. For the church in Denver, doing justice is embracing what God has clearly called an abomination.

Justice is receiving what we deserve. Therefore, it seems to me that Christians ought to use the word justice carefully. The good news is that none of us have received what we deserve.

No comments: