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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 75: Justice

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 14-16

"Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you."
Deuteronomy 16:20

Justice is a word thrown around a lot in theological and political circles. Everyone attaches the word "justice" to their favorite cause or passion.

Both pro-life and pro-choice advocates claim justice to be at the heart of their cause. People who support the health care bill and those who do not would argue the issue is about justice. And what about those who want the death penalty and those who abhor it? Both claim justice.

Daily, our children claim allegiance to the flag, declaring "liberty and justice for all." I wonder what we mean when we say those words?

"If there is a poor one with you, one of your brothers (or sisters), in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor relation; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks."

It seems generosity is at the heart of justice. People are to take care of each other, especially those who are near to them, either relationally or geographically. The generosity is to supply more than basic need. "Freely open your hand to him."

There is an attitude here also. Justice comes without a snide or darkened heart. When giving, one should not calculate the loss. "Your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him." One is not to lord over another. One is not to give grudgingly but freely.

And once the debt is paid back, the lender is to "furnish liberally" from his or her own storehouse so that the one in need may begin life fresh.

I wonder what would happen if we took this kind of justice to heart. This kind of justice would surely bring about a new kind of liberty--a liberty for the one lifted up, and a liberty to the giver.

LORD, teach us more and more about your generous ways.

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