"The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his
unfailing love." (Psalms 33:5 NIV)
This amazing short verse
contradicts some forms of popular Christianity which teach that
God's love and His justice are opposed. Here righteousness,
justice and love are
The Need for a Definition
The world has no common definition of justice, much less the ability
to implement it with love. People argue over justice and love with no
common definition upon which to base their arguments. No wonder we go
If we rightly define justice and love from a biblical point of view, we
will find them to be two sides of one coin. However, first let us
note humanistic unbiblical definitions.
In the Western world, justice is linked with equality. This concept
drives the progressive left. For example, income inequality is considered
injustice, and economic justice seeks income equality. This idea is also
behind a liberal approach to border control policy in the United States -
enabling the poor of nearby countries to enter and gain better jobs and
"Justice" is also applied to racial and ethnic groups by using quotas to
assure equal numbers in all professions, schools, and more. This concept
of equality also drives the idea that homosexual marriage should be equal
to hetero-sexual marriage, and that transgender people should be able to
use the restrooms and locker rooms of their choice. All variables that
cause people to be treated differently are targeted for elimination. This
then leads to the abandonment of distinctions that have been respected
for thousands of years.
Justice in the Bible
The Bible explicitly defines some aspects of justice as connected to
equality. For example, with regard to crimes in the society, the courts
are not to show partiality to the rich or the poor, or the small or
the great. Before universal ethical and civil law we are all equal.
The Bible has standards to provide a form of economic liberation and
redistribution of land to the original owners every fifty years (the year
of Jubilee). However, with regard to trade and possessions such as
livestock and more, there is no requirement for economic equality.
So what then is Biblical justice? It is an order of righteousness,
where every person and every created being is enabled to fulfill their
God intended destiny. The Hebrew word for righteousness
is also translated as justice and justification. In some aspects of
destiny, there is equality. All are called to know and love God and to
experience and enjoy his fellowship. God makes it clear that He desires
provision for all people in food, shelter, and protection from evil. God
desires that most people be married and have children. But at the same
time, God creates distinctions whereby there is mutual dependence for
blessing throughout the whole of creation. He creates male and female
to be very different and to have different callings and blessings. We are
wonderfully interdependent in marriage and in having children
God also creates people with different gifts. Some will be able to
produce wealth and in that - provide employment for others. Some have
greater artistic gifts. And we could go on and on. The Bible also notes
that God has different callings for different individuals and
peoples. Justice begins with understanding God's intention of
destiny for individuals and nations.
At a Palestinian conference a few years ago, I noted that justice in
the conflict between Israel and the Arabs begins with accepting that
God's destiny for the Jewish people is the Land of Israel. There
is not an equality of claim to this Land. However there is a clear
biblical mandate for fair treatment for the stranger or sojourner who
dwells in the land. Injustice is destiny prevention, and a just or
righteous society maximizes destiny fulfillment. A just society
enables the maximum fulfillment for people within the boundaries of
God's law. Once we understand justice, we can better understand
What is Love?
Love is not mere human sentiment - whereby we give people what they
desire as long as it does not harm others. This definition is so short
sighted. It is actually a false love and it fosters easy divorce,
homosexual marriage and a host of other social problems.
Love is passionate identification with the other person,
perceiving their worth and seeking their good, guided by the law of God.
Love is passionate because it really includes emotional caring.
Good is defined as the destiny fulfillment of a person. This
destiny is founded upon a loving relationship with God and others. The
worth of people is defined by their being created in God's image,
and by the fact that God sent his Son to die for them (John 3:16).
However, the good of people has to be defined as guided by law.
Nothing that goes against God's foundational moral law is ever
good for people in the long run. Destiny fulfillment is always in
unity with the law. This is why Biblical love is always lawful. I John is
full of verses on this! This means that if we love people, we seek to
establish an order of righteousness or justice for their good.
Oh for a Common Understanding
The question is what is God's will for the situations of conflict we
face in this world, from marriage and family issues, congregational
issues, to the issues of politics and even international relations. How
can justice be implemented in love? Imagine if all followers of Yeshua
were in agreement! It would change our understanding of discipleship. It
would change our political and social involvements. It would help solve
so many thorny problems.
"No, the Lord has told us what is good. What he requires of us is
this: to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in humble
fellowship with our God" (Micah 6:8 GNT).
1 The word translated as love here is
chesed, which is translated as "steadfast love" in the RSV, and
"gracious love" in other versions.
Tikkun International is a family of ministries.
(tee-koon) n. [Hebrew] 1 Restoration: bringing back to health, strength;
rebuilding 2. Setting in order; making straight 3. World redemption
[Jewish tradition] - the final restoration of the world in harmony with
We believe deeply in the full restoration of Israel and the Church as a
central part of God's plan for the end of the age.