Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Justice (13) - Dealing with Poverty

When we see people in a bad situation, the first step to resolving the problem is to decide whether justice or mercy is required. We should examine the situation to find out if an injustice has occurred. Injustice is always accompanied by two things. Firstly, one of God’s laws will have been broken. Usually something will have been stolen from the person who is in trouble. Secondly, a person or group of people will have the committed and unjust action. We must be able to identify an action by a person that caused the injustice. Sometimes the injustice will have occurred in the past. A person might be poor, because their grandparents' land was stolen.

If an injustice has occurred, justice requires the situation to be rectified. If no law has been broken and no unjust action can be identified, then no injustice has occurred. If there is no injustice, then justice is not the solution.

The fact that a problem was not the result of an injustice does not mean that a Christian can turn and walk by on the other side. Christians are required to show mercy and compassion to those in need.

Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (1John 3:16,17.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy. (Matt 5:7).
People sometimes get into trouble through bad choices. Sometimes people make good choices, but things still go wrong. In these situations, justice does not provide a solution. Mercy would do much better. Mercy provides assistance wherever there is need.

Justice is important, but mercy is even more important. There are many serious injustices, but most of the problems in the world are not the result of injustice, so they cannot be remedied by justice. They will only be remedied by mercy. Justice will improve the world, but only mercy can make it a better place.

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