Seeking true justice
A Christian Science perspective.
People long for justice in their own lives and in larger issues in their communities or countries. Current racial issues in the United States are one example, but sometimes even past events, such as the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, can seem impossible to move beyond. A recent decision by the French government to release documents about that time may make a difference (see “Was France complicit in the Rwandan genocide?” CSMonitor.com). While no one wants to relive devastation, it is right for truth to come to light so that an intelligent verdict can be reached and uncertainty about events be removed.
At times like this, one thing I find very helpful is the knowledge that prayer is not limited to a local area – such as my home, my workplace, or even my community. Nor is justice limited to a few particular countries or especially enlightened leaders.
In searching for a true sense of justice, I have turned to the Bible to find that divine justice cares for the innocent and redeems the wrongdoer who wants to change his or her life. In her discovery of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy found that an inspired interpretation of Bible texts shows God to be divine Principle, Love. To me this means that divine Love is lawful, and divine Principle is loving in the highest sense.
In lifting people out of the injustice of disease and disability, Christ Jesus proved justice to be a law of God that governs all. Today, our prayers can open our thought to the Science of Christianity that Jesus proved. An inspired understanding of the principled divine law he preached can bring a higher demonstration of divine justice into our experience. The influence of our prayer can also have more far-reaching effects. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mrs. Eddy writes, “The ‘still, small voice’ of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe’s remotest bound” (p. 559).
Knowing the unstoppable reality underlying God’s laws gives us confidence that true justice can be found in our own communities and elsewhere in the world where conflict seems to be impeding progress. The justice we can expect is not brutality and death, but evidence of God’s correction and goodness. This passage from the Bible offers such a promise: “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face. Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance” (Psalms 89:14, 15).
Divine Love’s mercy and truth encompass all of us, and each one’s prayers can make a difference. I know this from many experiences I’ve had, including one that happened in the town where I live.
Many years ago a certain official in my community engaged in illegal behavior. Citizens in my community called for a meeting to demand justice. As a resident of the district affected by these actions, I went to the meeting, but not to witness retribution; I went to pray with an understanding of God’s government and justice. I’m sure other people there were praying also. Though the meeting had a stormy start, the outcome was just, and progressive changes did come about as a result.
One thing I learned from that experience is how important it is not to be impressed by the human details of a situation. Instead, I strive to see the spiritual truth that actually governs. Insisting on the power of divine Principle to reveal what needs to be corrected, but also keeping my heart open to the compassion of Love, helps to keep me from getting bogged down in personal opinions. And even if we don’t see it clearly at first, the outcome, under God’s judgment, must reflect progress on the path of true justice for everyone.
A good example is the case of Daniel who had truly done no wrong. Falsely accused by his enemies, he was condemned to what was expected to be certain death. He was to spend the night in a lions’ den. But his conviction of his innocence and his trust in God saved him (see Daniel 6:3-24).
No matter where we are in the world, each of us can make a spiritual commitment to trust in God’s power to bring about justice even when things seem beyond human help. Like Daniel, we can rely on divine Principle and be firm in our conviction that divine justice will prevail. As Science and Health puts it: “The power of God brings deliverance to the captive. No power can withstand divine Love” (p. 224). This is the rock on which to build our trust in God’s control over our lives and the lives of others. And it is through this trust that we will see good prevail.