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Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.

Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)

The Victory in Virtue Series

Intro

Part 1: Faith

Part 2: Hope

Part 3: Charity

Part 4: Piety

Part 5: Prudence


Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Today I present another entry in the Victory in Virtue series. Today’s post is on the Virtue of Justice.

Justice is a topic on many people’s minds today. This fallen world is unjust and always has been; lately we see more examples of that. As Christians we do have a duty to seek Justice. We have a duty to fight injustice in all its forms. To defend the oppressed, and stand up for the most marginalized and least powerful members of our society. We are called to do what we can, when we can, to oppose and correct injustice. The Virtue of Justice lies in fulfilling those duties, as well as in living Righteously.

So that’s what today’s post is about. It’s a long post again, so let’s get straight into it.

What Is the Virtue of Justice?

What is Justice? That’s a good question, since there’s a divide among Christians on this question today.

Some Christians oppose injustices in society. For example, police brutality, racism and systemic racism, and murders by police. Killings that don’t need to happen, excessive uses of force. Breonna Taylor is an example that sticks out in my mind. She was at home when she was shot to death by police who were serving a no-knock warrant. They came in shooting. And even the warrant they had was for a different place! The crimes they were investigating were at a different house, ten miles away. She was no criminal, far from it—she was an EMT, a first responder like the police who killed her. Breonna Taylor got killed in her own home, for no reason. Her killers won’t be prosecuted for her murder, it seems. What else can we call this besides an unacceptable injustice? Opposing, denouncing, and seeking to stop this kind of injustice is one side of the divide.

Meanwhile, other Christians focus on the law and order aspects of God. They look more to the Old Testament, to Exodus and Deuteronomy, Leviticus. They want harsh punishments for crimes, even up to the death penalty, which I say is not something Christians should support because of Romans 12:19. Vengeance is not our jurisdiction. They focus on the wrathful aspect of God. They focus on the punishments God gives out for wrongdoings. They focus on that and conclude that wrath and brutal punishment are the correct answer to wrongdoing.

So which side of the divide is “right?”

We can look through the Bible and find Scripture describing God in every possible way. Is He a God of Justice? Yes. Is He a God of compassion? Yes. Is He a God of law and order? Yes. Is He a kind God of mercy? Yes. Is He a God of wrath? Yes. Is He a God of generosity who gives freely? Yes. Is He a God that holds public servants and those in positions of power accountable? Yes.

He is all these things and more. He is beyond our comprehension. So we must never try to fit Him in any box and claim that these qualities are the qualities of God. God is so far beyond all politics, and any of our labels. We must all stop trying to label God, because there’s no point in it. God’s qualities are beyond our knowledge, though we can catch hints of them through His works.

So when it comes to Justice, we must look to Scripture and pray for the LORD’s Wisdom on what we should do about the injustices in our world, and what is an injustice. Yes God wants law and order, but it has to be Just and accountable.

Our Duty for Justice

Anyway, let’s talk now about the Virtue of Justice for us as individuals, and our duty to pursue it.

We live in a fallen world, filled with unbearable injustices too many to count. Injustice comes in many forms, and not all injustice is even illegal. Besides violent injustice, there are other things that are injustices. Consider these words of God in Ezekiel 16:49.

Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.

Ezekiel 16:49 (NIV)

Sodom and Gomorrah were judged and destroyed by God. When we hear those names we first think of their sexual sins. But here in Ezekiel, what does the LORD condemn them for? They didn’t help the poor and needy. The LORD could have mentioned any of their sins, but He chose this one.

Although not illegal, it’s a sin to be arrogant and not help the poor and needy. This is especially so when we’re overfed and unconcerned—when our own needs are met but we don’t care about the needs of others. When a whole society or system is uncaring like this, apathetic when some have everything and others have nothing, it’s an injustice. An injustice on a societal level. A society that acts like this is like Sodom and Gomorrah. Do you think this describes the state of the world we live in?

We have a duty to pursue the Virtue of Justice in our world. We can’t leave any of these things alone, unopposed. We have a duty to do what we can to right the injustices we see.

God told us in Isaiah 1:17 to seek justice. We must defend the oppressed, and take up the cause of the fatherless. We must stand up for the widow, pleading her case. These people mentioned are the most powerless members of our society. The fatherless especially often grow up without solid direction, and get into all kinds of trouble. God says we must take up their cause and help them. Taking up their cause is pursuing the Virtue of Justice. We can’t undo the societal injustices that put them in their situation, but we can help people get themselves out of it through Christ Jesus.

Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.

Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)

It’s Virtuous to seek justice, and if we are seeking justice we are on the right track. King Solomon said in Proverbs 29:7 that:

The righteous care about justice for the poor,
but the wicked have no such concern.

Proverbs 29:7 (NIV)

If we care about justice for the most marginalized and depowered members of our society, it means we have empathy for them. That is Godly and Virtuous, and something that some refuse to do or are unable to do. Empathy is a Christ-like quality, and one that should form the basis of our pursuit of Justice. It’s Justice to care about their situation, not accept it, and help them to build themselves up. Next, to pursue the Virtue of Justice it’s time to take doable steps to do what we can to right the wrongs we see around us.

This is a great way to pursue the Virtue of Justice. Do what we can, when we can, to right the wrongs we see around us. Sometimes that may be protesting, but most of the time it can be done through Charity, volunteering, and getting involved in our community. Let me give a few examples.

Do you see the injustice of unequal access to education? Then get involved with or start a mentoring organization, so you can exert your effort to correcting that injustice. Do you see the injustice of child hunger? Start up a food drive, or start an organization that can provide snack packs to local kids. Providing the snack packs is easier. All we can do is whatever we can.

The key as I see it is to figure out how a societal injustice hurts our community, then do what we can to help those specific problems. Everything we do can help. As individuals we can’t hope to get rid of injustice (plus the Bible shows that this fallen world has always been unjust), but when we group up we can get somewhere. But even when we pursue the Virtue of Justice as individuals, we are honoring God by doing what we can to fulfill Isaiah 1:17.

What we can do will depend on our resources, connections, and where we live. But all we are called to do is whatever we can. It will take teamwork. Band together with a church and other local organizations, and work together to try to “fill in the cracks” where society and government have fallen short. This often means serving chronically unmet needs in a community. We can hold food and clothing drives, and distribute to the needy as best we can.

If we have useful or employable skills, let’s teach and share those with others to help them improve themselves. Let’s use our unique skills and talents to provide whatever service we can. Our team may never be able to fully right systemic wrongs on our own, but it’s Virtuous to try. We can be sure that we will have an impact.

And when we need to hold agents of the government accountable for injustice, we should march, protest, and do non-violent civil disobedience. It’s important to show government that injustice does not go unseen or unchallenged! They will take note if it’s ignored.

So whatever our opinions are about Justice and what that means today, we know as Christians we have a duty to seek the Virtue of Justice. We have a duty to take up the cause of the fatherless and the widow, to defend the oppressed. And we know that injustice appears in many forms. We have a duty to oppose injustice in all its forms—to be intolerant of injustice.

To be most effective here we need to group up with other Christians and take action. This could be everything from protesting to holding food drives. It all depends on what we want to change. As long as we’re doing what we can to right the injustices we see, we’re on the right track. We must continue to pursue Justice even when it seems nothing can change. Injustice cannot go unopposed by Christians.

If we seek the Virtue of Justice and to oppose injustice, then we need to make sure we spend enough time in prayer to the LORD. In this world of relative truths, we need God’s Truth more than ever. We need to stay prayed up as we oppose injustices. Then we can feel good about following our conscience where it leads us. The LORD will convict us in our spirits if we do wrong.

So speaking of prayer, let’s look at a few prayers for the Virtue of Justice.

Prayers for the Virtue of Justice

There are many prayers we could pray to receive the Virtue of Justice. The best ones of course will be the ones that we create ourselves—the ones that come straight from the heart. Remember: When we pray we aren’t trying to say the right combination of words to unlock something in Heaven. No, that would be magic, which is an abomination to the LORD. Prayer is much simpler. Simply tell the LORD what you want, what you need, what’s on your mind, what’s bothering you, and so on.

Praying for a Virtue is a great way to build it up. It’s one of the best ways, actually. So here are a few short, simple prayers for the Virtue of Justice you can try adding to your prayer routine.

Perform Rightly our Duties toward You as We See them

Here’s another Catholic prayer I have “De-Catholicized” so that it’s safe to pray. Meaning, I took out all content about the saint this prayer was addressed to. Because saints (or Mary) are not moderators between God and mankind. There is only one moderator between God and man, and that’s the human being, Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). There is nothing in the Bible that says we should pray to anything besides Jesus Christ, the LORD.

And the resulting “de-Catholicized” prayer is a nice one. It asks the LORD for help seeking after Justice, so we may perform our duties toward Him as we see them. This last part is the important one. It takes out any concept of trying to use our human abilities to guess what the LORD’s Will is in any situation. It simply asks the LORD for the courage to follow our own conscience, which is the Holy Spirit at work. So Christians on either side of the current divide could pray this. Take a look and decide for yourself:

O God, Source of eternal justice, we supplicate You that You would deign to make us seek after justice so that we may perform rightly our duties toward You as we see them, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Why Do the Wicked Prosper?

Not everyone gets the Justice they deserve in this world, in this life. Some never receive a punishment here on earth for what they do. Now let’s not forget that everyone will stand before their Creator and be judged (Hebrews 9:27). Then they’ll have to account for what they’ve done. No one can avoid this, and if someone deserves punishment, the LORD will punish them (Romans 12:19). But still, no matter what it’s always painful to see injustice go unpunished.

When we read Jeremiah we can see that this has always been the case. Look at this passage from Chapter 12:

(1) You are always righteous, Lord,
when I bring a case before you.
Yet I would speak with you about your justice:
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?

Why do all the faithless live at ease?
(2) You have planted them, and they have taken root;
they grow and bear fruit.
You are always on their lips
but far from their hearts.

Jeremiah 12:1-2 (NIV)

It’s too bad this is the case, and always has been. Maybe God does this so Christians will rise up and see to Justice? Or maybe He does it to teach us Fortitude. The Fortitude to bear the unbearable: Injustice. The Fortitude to give up any revenge and retribution against those who commit injustice, and let God see to it when these people stand before Him.

So here’s a prayer about that. A prayer thanking the LORD for the final judgment, and knowing that no injustice goes unseen by the LORD. Everyone will be made to account for themselves. And what better way is there than this? Human Justice is imperfect, flawed. The LORD is more Just than we could ever hope to be.

LORD, I honestly don’t understand why You don’t put an end to the injustices in the world. I don’t understand why You don’t punish the wicked. Perhaps You intend for the Christian community to rise up and right these wrongs. But no matter what, I will defer to You and accept all Your judgments here on earth. I thank the LORD for the knowledge that everyone who escapes their Justice in this life will have to stand before You and account for themselves. I thank the LORD that no one can avoid that. I pray to You that You will guide me so I won’t follow the ways of the wicked. Praise the LORD and His perfect Justice, something we humans can never come close to. Amen.

The LORD is Righteous

There are many Psalms that mention Justice. I picked Psalm 11 as the inspiration for a prayer, but there are many more to choose from. Psalm 11 assures us the LORD is Righteous and loves Justice.

(5) The Lord examines the righteous,
but the wicked, those who love violence,
he hates with a passion.
(6) On the wicked he will rain
fiery coals and burning sulfur;
a scorching wind will be their lot.
(7) For the Lord is righteous,
he loves justice;
the upright will see his face.

Psalm 11:7 (NIV)

If the LORD is Righteous, we can trust Him to right all wrongs. Every injustice will be made right. Hallelujah! Until then, we need to make sure we’re seeking true Justice and we’re doing what we need to do. So this is a prayer about that.

LORD, thank You that You are Righteous and love Justice. Thank You we will see Your face if we seek Righteousness. Thank You that You will right every injustice. Please help me to seek Justice and to oppose injustice, that I may be found Righteous. Please lead me away from the ways of the wicked. Amen.

Learn to Do Right; Seek Justice

One of my favorite Bible quotes about Justice is cited above. It’s Isaiah 1:17. This is where the LORD tells us we have a duty to stand up for the most disempowered and disenfranchised members of our society. The ones in the most precarious positions, with the least power. The oppressed, the fatherless, and the widow.

Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.

Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)

It’s comforting to know the LORD cares deeply for all the least powerful members of society. He is also watching us, judging how we deal with them. We need to be courageous and fulfill our Isaiah 1:17 duties. We don’t want to be judged for the sins the LORD condemned Sodom and Gomorrah for in Ezekiel 16. So this is a prayer for the strength to live out Isaiah 1:17.

LORD, thank You that You care so deeply about the least powerful and most marginalized members of society. Please guide me and grant me the strength to obey Your commandment’s and fulfill my duties toward them. Please teach me to do right and seek Justice. Please grant me the strength to defend the oppressed, advocate for the fatherless, and plead the case of the widow, even when it puts me in the face of danger or backlash. Please grant me the strength and courage to oppose injustice in all its forms, and stand up for the most vulnerable in society. Amen.


Again, there are so many options for praying for any Virtue. I could go on and on and on. Everyone is always welcome to leave a comment with prayers of their own.

But once we’re done praying, it’s time to take action (in the physical world). Let’s move on to that now.

Living the Virtue

To cultivate a Virtue, we must also practice it, and do that consistently. Don’t just do it a few times and stop there—stay consistent. That consistency is how you build up a habit. It’s also how you cultivate and strengthen a virtue.

So how can we do that with Justice? Let’s look at a few practical ideas. And remember: These are only a start! The possibilities are endless. I welcome any comments with good ideas about this.

Here are just a few ideas of how we can live out the Virtue of Justice in our own lives:

  • Community involvement, teaming up and using our skills to right the wrongs caused by systemic injustice
  • Organized, non-violent civil disobedience
  • Taking care of the most marginalized people in our community, standing up for them, and advocating for them
  • LIVE RIGHTEOUSLY, SO THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS MAY INCREASE
  • And other ideas you can think of!

Like I said above, we’re called to do what we can to right the injustices we see around us. To right the wrongs in our local area. We may not be able to get rid of the problems in the system that either cause or contribute to the injustices and social ills we see. But when we team up we can have an impact on the problems. On the “symptoms” of systemic injustices, if you will.

We can organize food and clothing drives to help the poor in our area. We can pool money and raise funds, then organize a way to provide healthy “snack packs” to local children for some extra food. We can “donate” our skills and knowledge by mentoring and teaching those in our community who could use those skills to improve themselves. We can join or even start a mentoring organization, donating our time and knowledge. One of the best things we can do in life is pass on our valuable skills to others. Passing on our skills and knowledge is how society improves, and it could help a person to better their own life. Helping people to improve themselves and become more successful on their own is one of the best ways to fight the systemic injustices that place them at such a disadvantage from the start.

For any of our work on these things to be effective we need to team up. Form groups, partner with other Christians, organize as a church and team up with other churches nearby. Work with secular organizations and non-profits too. We won’t have any significant impact on the problems without teaming up.

When there’s an injustice that can’t stand, especially if it’s perpetrated by agents of the government, we have to oppose it by marching, protesting, boycotting, and other forms of non-violent civil disobedience. We can’t let injustice go unopposed, as the powers of government will take note of that. We must raise our voices in protest to let them know that we do not accept the injustices they commit. We must never resort to violence, which is the tactic of the oppressor, the tyrant. But we can resist them through non-violent means, and we see many good examples of this throughout history.

One of the best ways we can seek the Virtue of Justice is to take care of each other, with a special focus on the most marginalized and depowered members of our society. “The fatherless and the widow,” as Isaiah says. And we could say a “widow” in the Old Testament context is like a single mother today. All the categories in Isaiah 1:17 are vulnerable people without much power in society and may benefit greatly from our help.

Fatherless boys, for example, often grow up without any guidance and end up getting into great trouble from an early age. They often grow up to be emotionally unstable and volatile. One of the best things we can do as Christians is to reach out a helping hand to people like this, and mentor and guide them to Christ. We are aiding the cause of Justice if we can stop people like this from self-destructing or getting into trouble with the law, before that happens.

Whatever we can do, to reach out to the most vulnerable members of society with a helping hand is a good thing, and is part of the Virtue of Justice. We are advocating for and helping the vulnerable people mentioned in Isaiah 1:17. So if we reach out to people in trouble to see how we can help, we’re on the right track.

And of course let’s not overlook the obvious. The number one way to build the Virtue of Justice is for us to act Justly ourselves. We must be honest, upstanding, Righteous, dependable, and non-violent. We must never harm others or attack anyone. We must follow Justice even when the world around us doesn’t. The best way for Righteousness to increase in this world is for us to be Righteous ourselves. We must turn away from our sins and always act honestly, not looking for dishonest ways to get ahead. It’s not easy to be Righteous, but if we want to gain the Virtue of Justice we need to do what we can.

If we do what we can, if we care, if we have empathy, we’re on the right track. It’s not going far enough, and we need to take action to match our feelings, but as long as we honestly care, we’re on the right track. We’re on our way to cultivating the Virtue of Justice in ourselves. Remember Proverbs 29:7. The Righteous care, the wicked don’t.

The righteous care about justice for the poor,
but the wicked have no such concern.

Proverbs 29:7 (NIV)

Do what We Can

The events of recent years give us a reason to contemplate the Virtue of Justice. There is a divide among Christians about how to respond, and what is an injustice. Well whenever there’s a divide among Christians, we must turn to Scripture and prayer for our guidance.

We know from Isaiah 1:17 we have a duty to seek Justice. Luckily for us we are always able to do that. By being active and involved at the local community level, we can do what we can to help right the injustices around us. We can do what we can to treat the “symptoms,” to help the most vulnerable with their problems on an individual level.

We can do right, seek Justice, defend the oppressed, advocate for the fatherless, and plead the case of the widow. This is something we can all agree on as Christians, no matter what side of the divide we’re on. This is the Virtue of Justice. And the best way for Justice to increase in this world … is for us to focus on acting Justly ourselves.

Do right, seek Justice!

The Virtue for next time is Fortitude. Stay tuned for that and Subscribe to my FREE weekly newsletter with the link below so you’ll never miss a post!!


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Until next time, be strong and do good!

Your new best friend in Christ,

99:9

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8 comments on “Victory in Virtue Part 6: Justice

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