by Christopher Harbin

This content is part of a series.

Justice (1 of 7)
Series: We Don't Like Jesus
Christopher B. Harbin
Matthew 5:6-12

Ghandi famously said, ''I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.'' His words were at the same time a compliment to the teachings, life, and ethics of Jesus and a recognition that our application of Jesus' teaching and ministry has been faulty, at best.

If we think about the disparity between Jesus' actual teachings and our application of them, we have to start wondering if we really do love Jesus, or if we are more concerned with using Jesus' name to press forward concerns from some other source. If we truly loved Jesus, we would live as He taught us.

Justice is a term we have distanced from its roots in the Bible. We tend to think of justice as enforcing laws and retribution upon those who have broken them. Biblically, justice and righteousness are a very different concept than what we mean when we use the words.

While we talk about laws and upholding a social or moral order, the Bible speaks of doing what is right or good for someone else. While we concern ourselves with having others follow our guidelines, the Bible is much more concerned with calling us to live according to higher standards. It is a term that calls us to be like Jesus.

There were various instances in which Jesus addressed issues and concerns of justice. It is perhaps in Matthew chapter five, in the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus' words to the issue are most direct. He references justice and righteousness a couple of times in the Beatitudes. First he blesses those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Then he blesses those who suffer in their efforts to press for justice and righteousness.

In the Greek text, the term used can be translated as either righteousness or justice. It has a meaning that is a little more specific, however. It refers to doing what is right or good. Over the centuries in English, however, we have allowed the meanin ...

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