We need Biblical justice back in America. The Bible tells us how to be and how we can build a fair and equitable society that reflects the many blessings of God we have already received. We all deserve justice, but today nobody is getting any.
What is justice according to the Bible? The Hebrew word for Justice in the Bible is “mishpat.” The word is commonly translated as justice. When we think of justice, we usually think of courts and laws and the punishments that come with breaking those laws. Indeed, this is an essential part of justice. But it also means more than that.
To begin, we live in a society that has forgotten God. The Ten Commandments are now suggestions. The laws of God, and even the commandment of Christ to “Love one another,” is routinely ignored.
We have two systems of justice in America, one for the rich and one for everyone else. If a common person steals from a cash register at work, they will be arrested and be sent to jail, no matter the reason. But when wealthy people steal billions from the public through unethical schemes, they may perhaps be called to testify in front of Congress. They might lose their job, but be paid a severance of millions of dollars. In other words, they are rewarded for their crime.
This is not justice at all.
The Bible tells us how to deal with thieves. A man who steals a beast shall repay the cost four or five-fold depending on the animal (Exodus 22:1). A person who steals another item of value shall repay the value, plus twenty percent (Leviticus 6:1-5). In other cases a man may forfeit his home and possessions or another man may be sold into slavery for a time to repay the debt.
This is justice and you can see it is a far cry from what we have today. A banker who scams and deceives breaks at least the eighth, the ninth, and the tenth commandment. If our code of laws were truly based on the Ten Commandments, we would charge the unscrupulous fraudster with at three least violations. In various places, the Bible assigns penalties depending on the severity of the offense. At a minimum, restitution is due.
But in a sign of how corrupt America has become, that banker will not pay full restitution to those who he harmed. Instead, his company will pay a settlement, an agreed fraction of restitution that never makes up for the full loss suffered by the victim. The banker will not go to prison. Finally, the banker may resign or be fired, and in both cases will be paid a bonus upon their departure.
Our legal code actually facilitates this behavior. Our legislators no longer write laws themselves, instead they let the lobbyists do all the work. Unlike Biblical law, which is simple, the laws we write today are riddled with loopholes and injustice. The purpose of our law today is not to serve justice, but to serve injustice. To keep the poor in check, and paying debts, while letting the rich do as they please.
But justice isn’t just about punishing the evildoer. There’s another side to “mishpat” that has been systematically ignored. God demands we also provide for those who are most vulnerable. The widows, the orphans, the immigrants, and the poor have a special place in God’s law. We must provide for these people too, to ensure they have food, shelter, clothing and opportunity.
When we have both legal justice and economic justice, we have “mishpat.” Such justice reflects the merciful nature of God. We may not deserve the goodness and compassion we receive from God, but He provides it nonetheless. Likewise, not every person will deserve our charity and kindness, but our place is to provide it anyway. Jesus did not stutter when He spoke the words, “Love thy neighbor as yourself.”
The reason we have so many controversies in this country is because anything goes. The rich win and the poor lose.
There is no justice for those who break the law, unless they are poor. Then, justice is swift and draconian. Those who are deviant are never punished, but praised as idols. Those who escape justice because of their wealth are labeled as “clever.” We argue incessantly about providing for the poor. Our charitable programs have become rife with abuse.
We live in the richest, most productive nation in the world, at the greatest time in all human history. We have money to spend $1.4 trillion on a single fighter plane. But we have no money for the poor. And to sustain the poor, we apparently need to take from the meager income of the middle class.
There is no justice because we have abandoned God’s law for our own. We have decided we are smarter than God.
But when we look at all the injustice, all the poverty, deviant behavior and problems our society faces, we can quickly conclude why the problem exists. We have become a weak nation with an immoral code of laws. We worship money, sex and celebrity instead of God. And until we wipe all this foolishness away and restore God to the center of our hearts, homes and government, we will remain deprived of justice.
By David Drudge