Justice for Dummies 1

What is Justice? When people say they want “justice”, what do they mean?

Can you give a good definition for justice?

I have been urged by friends to get right back to the basics of “justice” so people recognise what it is that I am fighting for. To do that I will probably have to write several articles that open the subject bit by bit.

Simple Definitions

Ignoring the dictionaries, we can say that “justice” is when things are done right for all.

Another way of putting it is that justice is when you do what your conscience tells you is right.

And yet another way to put it is that the higher moral values are upheld in a situation, no matter who it upsets or disadvantages.

But I think the best way to discover justice is not in definitions but in practical examples.

English ideas of “justice” came from the Holy Bible, because England has had a thousand years of Christianity. English common law was developed from putting the Bible into practice. The kings and queens made promises (Imperial Acts) based on their responsibility before God.

So, let’s have a look at a well known Biblical example of justice at work.

One Dead Baby

King Solomon was faced with a thorny question from two prostitutes. They were both single mothers and overnight one of the babies died. The woman who woke up with a dead baby accused the other woman of stealing her baby, swapping them in the night. Both women claimed the living baby was theirs. (See 1Kings 3:16-28)

Note a couple of things about this case right up front. These women had no-one to protect them. They did not have husbands. They were immoral women and in some cultures they could have no rights whatsoever.

But here they are speaking directly to the King of the whole land. That’s justice! True justice gives the same rights to ALL, because all men are created equal.

In some cultures there is an elite group which seeks to rule others as if those others are lesser people. That is happening in Australia and other advanced nations today.

Way back in 1215 the English monarchy recognised and declared that everyone, even the King, is under the law. There is justice for all.

Competing Claims

Both of these women made the same claim, “It’s MY baby!” So, one of them was lying. But, being women who lived by immorality, they would have no qualms about lying.

Yet they were not rejected. While the situation was challenging, King Solomon did not send them away empty. He determined to get to the bottom of the matter.

That’s justice!

In some places it’s just “too hard” to sort things out and so the courts resort to sharing out the blame or the costs or the loss. The idea is that some kind of equity or fairness is achieved. But that is not Justice. Justice gets right to the bottom of the matter and makes sure that the decision is as accurate as can be.

No Red Tape

Australian courts have tripped me up and denied me justice by imposing their various rules and protocol. But notice that King Solomon did not send these women away to fill out a form in triplicate, or to get representation from a duly qualified lawyer, or to present their case in a particular fashion. They had complete and ready access to the source of justice. The “Substance” of justice was not destroyed by the “form” of the “legal process” or the rules and regulations.

In Australia today I find that courts use the legal process and their rules and regulations to take justice from ordinary Aussies.

The Heart of the Matter

Justice is not a matter of text book exactness, but a matter of the heart. It is a ‘moral’ issue. God, who created us, is a moral Being and He looks at our hearts.

King Solomon, wisely, exposed the heart of the women.

He told the women he would cut the baby in half and give half to each one. He had no intention of doing so, but he used that suggestion to get the “hearts” of the women speaking.

One woman said, “Good. Then neither of us will have the baby.” But the other woman said, “Please don’t kill the child. Let the other woman have the child.”

The two responses revealed which of the women had a mother’s heart for the child. The woman who believed she had been cheated proved to be the one who was the mother of the child.

True Justice

When the two women left Solomon one of them was exposed as a thief and a liar. I don’t think she was happy about that.

True justice is not about making everyone happy, but doing what is RIGHT. The woman who stole and lied had no right to anything except shame, and that is what she received.

The woman whose child was stolen received what was rightfully hers. He child was given back to her. She received justice and could raise her child in all the joy of her motherhood.

Summary

Justice, then, is doing what is right, morally. It is not about everyone getting an equal share, but it is about everyone having the same rights before the courts.

Everyone is entitled to an outcome that is morally right. It will be an outcome that sits right in your conscience and that pleases God, because evil people will not be rewarded.

Today in Australia and other advanced nations we are not given that form of justice. People who do not use lawyers are disadvantaged. People who challenge the elite, ruling class which thinks it is superior to others, are blocked in the courts.

The courts have become a place where people use power to take advantage of others. They entangle people with rules, fairness, pre-set judgments and other tricks to deny them justice.

What makes this so criminal, in perverting the course of justice and committing Treason against the Crown, is that the monarchs of England promised us all over 700 years ago that, “We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man justice or right.”

To catch the next articles in this series click on the following links:

Justice For Dummies 2 – Perfection
http://chrisfieldblog.com/2011/02/09/justice-2

Justice for Dummies 3 – Possession
http://chrisfieldblog.com/2011/02/09/justice-3

Youth Plants and Builds

Today’s pop culture acts as if youth is the time for indulgence, independence and unbridled pursuit of self-fulfilment. That idea is not only a deadly and useless one, it is a modern notion that defies the time-tested ideas of youth as a vital time to plant and build.

Let me take you back to some concepts of youth from yesteryear. Three thousand years ago King Solomon instructed youth to give special attention to God. The fear of God is something Solomon saw as vitally important for youth.

“Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth..” Ecclesiastes 12:1b

Solomon dedicated the book of Proverbs to his son, giving abundant sound advice about the pursuit of wisdom, avoiding fools, keeping away from immorality and so on. The best kind of youth is first established on the fear of God and a desire to go God’s ways and fulfil His plan for our life.

Another concept from yesteryear is that of ‘sowing and reaping’. What you sow is what you reap, according the both Biblical wisdom and human experience.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows is what he will also reap. For he that sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh; but he that sows to the Spirit will reap life everlasting from the Spirit.” Galatians 6:7,8 (Apostle Paul)

“For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorn bushes, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.” Luke 6:44 (Jesus Christ)

Trees take time to grow. What starts out as a small plant becomes, in time, a huge tree or a dense bush. When young people plant things in their life they may not see the consequences for a decade or two. Initially there is no evidence that they will have any bad outcome. But if they have planted thorn bushes and brambles, they cannot expect to harvest figs and grapes. What they sow is what they are going to reap.

So take note of this quote from this important eighteenth century American writer, Thomas Paine. Paine wrote many things that were central to bolstering the revolutionary cause and maintaining commitment during the long and wearing struggle for independence.

“Youth is the seed-time of good habits”, Thomas Paine, ‘Common Sense’ 1791.

Youth is a time to plant. In fact, youth is the time when planting happens, whether the youth realise it or not. They are planting character and sowing seeds for harvests to be enjoyed throughout their lives. Time well spent and choice seeds sown in youth will provide much to draw from in later years.

Another historic reference point for the importance of youth is the idea of building things for the future. A notion which was popularised in Christian homes in recent centuries is that of our life being a house which we build when young and have to live in for the rest of our lives.

Just as a young man growing in frontier territory must learn the needed skills to build his own family home from raw materials, so too, he must learn to build his moral character to be strong and independent of outside influences.

This concept is given attention in Ralph Moody’s stories, “Little Britches” and “Man in the Family”. Moody explains, “My goal in writing is to leave a record of the rural way of life in this century, and to point up the values of that era which I feel that we, as a people, are letting slip away from us.” (Quoted in New York Times Book Review Aug 6, 1967). Consider the following quote from “Little Britches”.

“…you have injured your own character. A man’s character is like his house. If he tears boards off his house and burns them to keep himself warm and comfortable, his house soon becomes a ruin. If he tells lies to be able to do the things he shouldn’t do but wants to, his character will soon become a ruin. A man with a ruined character is a shame on the face of the earth.”

In Moody’s short story, “I Meet the Sheriff” a lad must act responsibly, or face his father’s accusation that he is “running away from the law and tearing boards off my character house”.

Youth is a time to plant and build, in the fear of God. Wise youth follow God’s instructions, are attentive to what they allow to take root in their hearts and minds, and they discipline themselves to learn the skills required to build strong character, even when the raw materials are hard to come by.

I exhort each young person to consider your creator and live in the light of His searching gaze. Plant wisely and guard against wild seed being sown in the soil of your life. Build wisely and learn the disciplines that empower you to build and re-build again and again.

God bless you as you do.

The Importance of Timing

There is a time for everything. So says Solomon in his supreme wisdom. Yet timing is a lost art for most people, especially in our opportunistic culture today. So, do you understand “times”? There’s a lot in the subject of time and timing. So this is just an introduction to the topic. You will remember that end time prophecies refer to such things as “time, times and half a time” (Daniel 12:7, Revelation 12:14).

Jesus knew the times and said of himself, “my time has not yet come” (John 7:6,8).

Members of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, Issachar, were noted for their ability to understand the times, thus knowing what Israel should do in various situations (1Chronicles 12:32). Knowing the significance of times and seasons enables people to make the right choice at the right time.

King Solomon gave us a poetic celebration of the reality of times and seasons.

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The most sobering reflection on ‘time’ comes out of the life of Elisha, the powerful prophet of Israel, approx 850 years before Christ. After this man of God healed the Syrian leper, Naaman, he declined to accept the lavish and valuable gifts offered him by the grateful military captain. Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, however, had no qualms about getting a share of the goods and so he secretly went to Naaman and asked for some of the booty, which Naaman happily gave him. When Gehazi returned to his post Elisha challenged him, since the prophet knew by divine revelation what Gehazi had done.

Significant in Elisha’s challenge to Gehazi is the issue of ‘timing’.

“And Elisha said to him, Didn’t my heart go with you when the man (Naaman) turned from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and olive-yards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?” 2Kings 5:26

Elisha knew something about timing that Gehazi did not know. It was not the right time to get wealth. Gehazi’s problem was not greed, nor deception, but ignorance of the time in which he was living.

Now, considering how vital timing is in such a case, how well are we acquainted with timing and seasons in our lives? I suspect that most of us think opportunity is all that is required. If there is an opportunity to get something then the opportunity speaks for itself. Many people end up in some kind of curse, just as Gehazi did, when they act without regard for the times and seasons.

I suggest we all need to be much more prayerful and sensitive to times and seasons. We need to seek God for insight and revelation about how times and seasons impact our lives. Let’s do that and stay in step with what God is doing in us and our community, and the world at large.

The Potency of Kings

Kings have authority and potency. That is why they are called ‘potentates‘. They wield authority over their domain and go to war with other kings to gain or preserve territory and authority.

Kings possess inherent qualities of authority. That authority has been expressed to the degree of the ‘divine right of kings’, which suggests that their superiority is divinely endowed.

King Solomon attested to the potency of kings when he declared…

“Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say to him, What are you doing?” Ecclesiastes 8:4

Where am I going with this? I am not here to tell you that kings have authority. What I want you to see is that people who are doing the will of God have authority that is equal to that of kings. So I’m pointing out that kings have quite some authority. Kings can virtually do as they please, and no-one can challenge them. Yet the same is true of the truly godly who are fulfilling the will of God in their lives.

Now, before you head off to defy authority, let me say again that what makes men equal to kings is that they are about their heavenly father’s business. You will not get to a place where you can defy authority just for the sake of doing your own thing. But if you are God’s man (so to speak), doing what God has called you to do, His way, then you can do business with kings, as an equal.

Let me show you several evidences of this in the Bible.

Abraham rescued the whole city of Sodom when it was captured by invading armies. Following the rescue the King of Sodom came to Abraham to offer him a handsome reward. Abraham flatly refused to take it, saying he did not want it said that Sodom had contributed to his wealth (see Genesis 14:1-24).

Abraham dealt with the King of Sodom, not as a lesser man who relied on the King’s graces, but as a man at least equal to the King, who would act as he so chose. Later Abraham proved to be of a higher authority than the King of Sodom when God allowed Abraham to negotiate for the city, but God did not even consider giving such a privilege to the King of Sodom.

Later we see Abraham doing business with a king of the Philistines. We know of this king as Abimelech, which is a dynastic title, like the title Pharaoh in Egypt. God told Abimelech that Abraham was God’s man and he was not to do him any harm. Abraham had no qualms in rebuking this king when his men stole wells from Abraham.

Rather than being in awe of kings, Abraham knew his own place as God’s servant and that he could go about his own business independently of the rulers of the land.

We later see Moses challenging Egypt’s Pharaoh with the same disregard for that king’s earthly authority. Moses had been sent by God and so he acted as an equal, or even a better than Pharaoh, going boldly into his presence to do business with him.

Yet again, even in the trial of Jesus Christ by Pilate, the delegated Roman ruler of Palestine at that time, Jesus declared that the only authority Pilate had over him was what God allowed.

“Jesus answered, You could have no power at all against me, except it were given you from above: therefore he that delivered me to you has the greater sin.” John 19:11

As you grow in your godly authority be aware that the time may come when you will stand before kings, not as a menial whom they wish to deal with as they will, but as an equal, or indeed even as one who has power over them. This is as it has always been.

Do not despise the authority of kings, for it represents the authority you may one day have as you pursue God’s purposes in your generation.

Blood is Thicker Than Water

People are bound together by many things. Family ties are an important and valuable link between people. The saying goes that ‘blood is thicker than water’. This is often quoted when someone acts in a nepotistic fashion, giving advantage and favour to a family member at the expense of others who should have been considered.

But the blood bond is not the only bond, and at times it is not a good bond. King Solomon advised that a near neighbour is better help than a brother who lives a long way off.

Neighbourly support is a sweet benefit for those who enjoy it. My 99 year old neighbour, Howard Perkins, at home caring for his 92 year old wife, Marion, gets plenty of support from others in the street. Patricia drives him to the local market so he can do his shopping. Kalliope calls around regularly to cut Marion’s hair. And so it goes. Up until just a few years ago Howard was cutting the lawn of an elderly lady who is just a little older than he. She is now in a nursing home and will beat him to the ‘century’.

Then there are the networks of church and social groups. These provide long-term friendships and support bases for people. Social research during the great depression found that those who survived unemployment and loss the best were those who had a strong family network and who were well connected into a church.

Then again, there are the less obvious connections of such things as secret societies. In these, people make vows to others and are bound to fulfill them. The connection may be ideological, such as we see with religious fanaticism, or it may be entered into from some lure of privilege, such as may attract some to the Masonic societies.

Where these secret connections exist they are often called upon by covert signals, such as handshakes, stance postures, and so on. A man in the docks can signal to the jury by assuming a prescribed posture. Anyone in the jury who is a fellow Mason is thus obligated to rescue the defendant, even if he is obviously guilty.

Now, having given than elaborate introduction, here is my point.

Blood is thicker than water and secret alliances may hold greater sway, but the Fear of God is thicker yet again!

When a person acts in the fear of God they are willing to uphold justice and righteous standards for all. They will not give leniency to their family, as that would mock God. They will not give special consideration to their neighbours, as that will rob someone else of justice. They will not let off an offender because of secret vows made to the secret society.

The answer to any request for such treatment should be “No, you have violated a higher moral ethic than my secret commitments with invocations and vows. My responsibility to the living God is of a higher rank than the promises of my lips, my subscriptions to secret collusions and vows, my care for my family or the members of my society.

Whenever the fear of God is not the ‘thickest’ thing in our life, we end up compromised and morally damaged. I challenge you to be in thick with God. Let the cord that binds you to Him be the thickest of them all.