Doing what we do we think a lot about justice. But each time it is important to start our thinking with God. The Psalmist was inspired to say about God that “Righteousness (tsedeq] and justice [misphat] are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love [hesed] and faithfulness [emet] go before you.” Psalm 89 v 14.
All four of these attributes, righteousness, justice, love and faithfulness are part of His character. They don’t counteract but work in perfect harmony. “Hesed” is described by one writer as “the consistent, ever-faithful, relentless, constantly-pursuing, lavish, extravagant, unrestrained, furious love of our Father God” (how good is that!?) and “Emet” – as being the truth or faithfulness or firmness of God. But equally the two words “Tsedeq” and “Misphat” are often found together. Tsedeq is mostly translated as righteousness and refers to conformity to what is right, of the things that should be: just, honest, impartial. Whereas Misphat – most often translated as justice – has the connotation of a legal action, making an intervention into a situation that is wrong, unjust or oppressive to correct it so it conforms with Tesdeq.
This is how God is.
But importantly when we too, as his image bearers, live in conformity to the character of God, when we demonstrate such love, faithfulness, and a commitment to justice, it brings peace – or shalom.
Psalm 85 v 10 says that when “Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace [shalom] kiss each other.”
As our two worlds collide, and we begin to live as God wants us to, putting justice into action, being faithful in love and righteousness (and not just thinking about them) brings Shalom. A true peace and community well-being.
One of the clients that was served through the justice ministry that BMS supports, tells her story of injustice (you can view it here https://www.bmsworldmission.org/news/justiceinafrica/ ), and how when justice was sought, and achieved, she said in her own words “…And then there was peace”.
I find this, “putting it into practice”, a real challenge, but as we reflect on God’s grace and mercy towards us, it is a challenge we cannot ignore but must pursue, whilst always eagerly asking the Lord to bring the true and everlasting peace that only he offers.