We have probably ALL had that feeling of wanting to get even with someone who has hurt us? I mean, they hurt you, so it’s only fair if they experience some pain in return, right? I get it, I’ve been there. When we’re hurt, we want revenge! We want consequences! We want justice! But here’s the thing…what IS JUSTICE?
What Isn't Justice?
Talking about justice can be tough. When we try to define, many of us define justice as . . .
Punishment. We see it as the thing that happens to people when they’re caught doing something wrong, like prison.
Revenge. This is pretty common to view justice as an opportunity for REVENGE. But What happens is that WE want JUSTICE for OTHERS in our circles but often at the expense of not realizing that we ourselves are exempt. WE don’t want justice for what we’ve done.
Trend. Some see justice as a trendy term that gets thrown around in politics, at protests, or on social media. We often call this virtue signaling. We want to appear OUTRAGED but do nothing beyond getting loud or making posts about our outrage. Sometimes our desire for justice is well-intentioned, sometimes it’s misguided, and sometimes it’s a little bit of both. Justice cannot be those things if they're going to be truly just.
What Justice IS
Probably the most important factor in Justice is that it is rooted in LOVE.
Without Justice being rooted in compassion or love, it can easily become revenge. We know that LOVE has many meanings and ways of being expressed but we use the BIBLE, God’s Truth to define what we mean by LOVE. Paul says this about LOVE:
If I gave everything I have to poor people, and if I were burned alive for preaching the Gospel but didn’t love others, it would be of no value whatever. Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him. I Corinthians 13:3-7 (TLB)
So, if Justice is rooted in compassion it can’t be the same thing as “revenge.” Justice isn’t revenge. Justice is love in action. Too often, it’s easier to act unjustly than it is to act with love. As followers of Christ, we MUST fully embrace the LOVE of God towards another person, and stop treating them with contempt, anger, and demanding revenge.
In this, realize that what a fallen world often desires is NOT JUSTICE but something far more harmful than what it tries to correct. This is why in the Proverbs it’s written:
Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely. Proverbs 28:5
Justice and SELF-LESS Love, DO exist and they exists when we lay ASIDE our own agenda, our own pride, and we sacrifice…FOR ONE ANOTHER. How much more do our lives become like Jesus when we even do it for those who can’t return the favor. Christ laid down HIS LIFE for us…That is love.
Justice and Injustice
Justice and injustice are issues that have become prominent in our culture, but the focus has been a little heavy on the injustice part and a cultural knee-jerk reaction has taken us past justice into an area of perceived greater injustice. Here’s the thing, injustice isn’t a race thing, it’s a SIN thing. Any time we make demands of another person we lose sight of the love and compassion to which we've been called as believers. So how do we address justice in light of our faith?
Justice means we begin to live with the same compassion, HOPE, and INTEGRITY that we desire for OURSELVES.
If we fail to show, compassion, hope, and integrity in our ideas about justice than we become hypocrites, and I think we can all agree we've seen enough of that already. Now that we've discussed what true and Biblical Justice looks like, we are ready to tackle equity.
So What About Equity?
Over the years there are things that pop up here and there that seek to undermine our system of judgement. We've probably all heard the term equity before but is this something that we know how to define?
Equity is the impartial distribution of justice…It is the treating of a person according to justice and reason.  According to the Websters 1828 dictionary we don’t look at money, status or race to determine someone’s innocence or guilt…
The problem with our modern culture of EQUITY is that we no longer use this wording because it was inconvenient to the cultural narrative. Equity currently holds the idea that everyone is entitled to the same outcomes, therefore things like money, vaccines, and other resources should be given to certain people groups first since they may not otherwise have access. "Wait, do you mean that it's based on the supposition that things aren't equal?" Well, in most cases it is based on the supposition that things aren't equal. It is up to individuals in our government sectors and players in our social sector to determine which groups they believe do not have that access.
“Where equality means that citizen A and citizen B are treated equally, equity means “adjusting shares in order to make citizens A and B equal.” Therefore, “‘equity’ requires giving some identity groups privileges in order to redress the perceived imbalance.”(2)
So the meaning of EQUITY CHANGED and was driven by race despite the importance of what Dr. Martin Luther King JR said during his I have a Dream speech:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. #DrMartinLutherKingJr
It was HIS DESIRE and the desire of all Americans, that justice means NOT looking at the outward things that we see, but that on the inward character that person possess and MOST importantly, on the inherent value given by God.
I believe that it is very likely that Martin Luther King Jr, is quoting 1 Samuel 16:7 "Man looks at the outward APPEARANCE but God looks at the heart." OR the content of their character.
That's Not What Culture Says About Equity
No, this is NO LONGER what Equity means. It has been given a new meaning and idea, redefined to suit a cultural narrative.
Also, doesn't it stand to reason, that if we are basing our idea equity on things like, gender, race, or social standing, then we become the ones who are overgeneralizing and racist?
Do ALL ________ (insert classification of persons) need us to step in and to give them _____? Is this just as egregious, to assume that they (the gender, social class, or race) need us to step in or they can't achieve those things on their own? The current cultural answer is: NO. If we don't step in, they are unable to achieve these things on their own. This is why we need government intervention into these areas. This is why we have this new definition of what it means to have equity:
EQUITY: Equal outcome, making provisions based on race or social standings.
Says Jordan Peterson, “Equity” is a term designed to signal “equality,” in some manner, and is a term designed to appeal to the natural human tendency toward fairness, but it does not mean the classic equality of the West, which is equality before the law and equality of opportunity."
This means then that equality before the law means that each person should be treated fairly by the criminal justice and the judicial systems regardless of their race, economic status, or gender. Furthermore, it is assumed that the "state" is able to recognize that each citizen has a fundamental value that government respects and guides in those decisions.
"Equity" Peterson says, "is a whole different ballgame. It is based on the idea that the only certain measure of “equality” is outcome—educational, social, and occupational. The equity-pushers assume that if all positions at every level of hierarchy in every organization are not occupied by a proportion of the population that is precisely equivalent to that proportion in the general population, that systematic prejudice (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.) must be at play. This assumption has as its corollary the idea that there are perpetrators (the “privileged,” for current or historical reasons) who are unfair beneficiaries of the system or outright perpetrators of prejudice and who must be identified, limited and punished." Unfortunately this is also the narrative driving the push for agendas like CRT as well. So this ALSO means that justice is no longer blind, but keeps an eye on skin color and social standing, and gender to ensure that an equal outcome is assured to all.
Perhaps even, our sense of justice and how we find it ALL boils down to a sense of purpose and being. Let me explain: If your highest purpose is to find happiness, then when you go through a situation of injustice, you will find yourself with a desire to RESTORE whatever it is that you feel you’ve lost.
If your goal is to maintain dignity, then you will go to great lengths to PROVE that you are not ___________. So if you feel as if you’ve been wronged, then you may go to great lengths to avenge yourself or to get retribution and what you feel is "justice."
However, if your life is one in which your highest goal is to honor Christ, then rather than seeking those things…happiness, dignity, or punishment, then maybe my life is instead focused on allowing God to use what satan meant for evil…to be used, for good.
And maybe that good isn’t even MY OWN GOOD, but maybe that good…is for God and gives Him ultimate Glory.
In many ways the story of Joseph highlights the journey of a young man, sold into slavery by his brothers, only to confront them over 20 years later in their search for food. It is a story about God's provision, justice, forgiveness, and the work of redemption when we allow God to work despite our perceived inequities. Genesis 45:1-15, 50:15-21,
Glen Beck Equity vs Equality: https://youtu.be/DAV99oSfxvQ
Jordan Peterson Dangers of Equity: https://www.jordanbpeterson.com/political-correctness/equity-when-the-left-goes-too-far/