Sunday, November 18, 2007

Justice (18) - Great and Poor

The following is an interesting command.

Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly (Lev 19:15).
Everyone agrees that rich and powerful people should not be allowed to pervert justice. The worst injustices occur when wicked rulers use their power to ride roughshod over the innocent. However, the commandment also says that justice should not favour the poor. The fact that a person is poor does not mean that they are innocent. Both rich and poor have the potential to do evil. True justice seeks the truth regardless of whether the person accused is rich or poor.

The implication of this verse is that we should be careful about using justice as an instrument to get eliminate over poverty. Justice can only benefit the poor, if an injustice has been done, and the perpetrator of the injustice can be identified. Otherwise one injustice is replaced with another. Using the process of injustice as a tool against poverty becomes an instrument of injustice, if it goes beyond remedying injustice.

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