It is always exciting to be used by the Lord to bring forth another monthly view. I pray that our heavenly Father will give us deep insight into true justice. Justice is "...the ability to conform to the will and standard of God -- a practical righteousness that matches one's positional righteousness in Christ," quoted from the John MacArthur Study Bible notes.1
The Foundation of Justice
Our foundation in life determines if we will stand or fall, whether built wisely upon rock or foolishly upon sand, as taught by Jesus.2 The founding fathers of the United States understood the importance of establishing the foundation of this great country upon the wisdom of God's Word, that says:
"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face. Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance."3
The foundation of my life was crumbling when I admitted my crimes. I was blind to the fact that righteousness and justice is the foundation of God's throne. I prayed the Lord's Prayer in my youth, saying "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven..."4 But I was separated from God, and I didn't pray in faith believing for God's will in heaven to be done on earth. I mouthed the prayer only as a tradition in church.
Jesus taught us to pray for His kingdom to come. He had come from His Father's throne and knew that its foundation is righteousness and justice. He came as the light to the world, walking in mercy and truth, and blessing the people with the light of His countenance. He came to restore His kingdom in those who are born again, saying: "...the Kingdom of God is within you."5
Meeting of the Minds
Faith restoration is the key to a successful justice system. Faith is "...the reality of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."6 Because of unbelief, few believe that restorative justice will work with its focus on mercy and accountability. But when you experience God's love and faith righteousness in your life, "...you can believe all things are possible...[because] with men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God, all things are possible."7
As I write, the tragedy in Tucson just occurred, causing me to question the possibility of restorative justice. As the grieving process takes place, the news media reports the bewilderment, the pain, the blame, and the irresponsibility, while asking the question: "What's wrong with America?" While the authorities seek justice, the local sheriff points out the anger, hatred, and bigotry generated by political rhetoric as a contributing factor. The offender's past reveals a walking time bomb persona, and he's ultimately responsible. The husband of Congresswoman Gifford (whose wife was shot in the head) is willing to meet with the offender's parents, saying: "It's not the parent's fault. They've got to be hurting as much as anybody." This is restorative justice in action.
As a society, we can't help but question our values as our nation experiences this time of crisis. Where is humility, love, respect, care, trust? Humility is simply the willingness to surrender your will, you opinions, and your view to the view and will of God. Faith restoration occurs when we humble ourselves to God, so that His righteousness, peace, and joy can manifest the light of God's love.
"For it is God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. [Because of the new birth] we have the treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us."8
Restoration For All
After the 9/11 tragedy in New York, masses of people turned to God for answers, comfort, and healing. The Lord promises the same today
"...if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."9
"In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation, whoever fears [reverences] Him and works righteousness is accepted in Him."10
As a nation, we can only work righteousness and be accepted by God if we accept Christ's finished work at the cross. Because of God's grace, we experience His love, peace, and joy, while the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to His love for everyone. Jesus died for our sins, took our punishment, rose from the dead, gave us eternal life, and the gift of His righteousness. He did all this to make the new birth possible.
Looking Unto Jesus
For the first 24 years of my life, I lived in pride and rebellion, thinking I could live without God. After a year in county jail, the Lord appeared to me in a bright light as I laid in a room near death. He assured me that He loved me, and whether I lived or died, that I was His [years later I found confirmation in Romans 13:8,9]. But it wasn't until 4 years later that I fully experienced His amazing love when I asked Jesus into my heart.
As I studied God's work, I learned that Saul of Tarsus saw this same light while on his way to destroy Christians. Jesus said to him:
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? ...I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and witness...I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me."11
The Lord not only changed Saul's life, but changed his name to the apostle Paul. Today, the light of God is shining upon you to reveal His love. He desires to open your eyes, and turn you from darkness to light, so that you may experience His forgiveness, His righteousness, and His inheritance. Then, you will be excited like so many, taking the message of restorative justice to the world.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."12
A Prayer For You ...
Heavenly Father, I thank You for the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus. I ackowledge Your righteousness and justice as the foundation of Your throne. May I reflect the light of your countenance, that is, Your mercy and truth that goes before Your face. I humble myself to Your will so that Your Holy Spirit may flow Your love and compassion through me. May Your healing touch be upon the community of Tucson, each victim, the offender, their families, and the nation. May this time of tragedy be one of drawing closer to You, so we may do unto others as we would have them do unto us. May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven in Jesus Name, Amen.
Healing Communities: A new report tells how faith communities can play a unique role in healing individuals, families, and communities devastated by crime and cycles of incarceration.
1 Pro. 1:3
2 Matt. 7:24-27
3 Psa. 89:14
4 Matt. 6:9,10
5 Luke 17:21b
6 Heb. 11:1
7 Mark 9:23; Mark 10:27
8 2 Cor. 4:6, 7
9 2 Cor. 7:14
10 Acts 10:34, 35
11 Acts 9:1-9
12 John 3:16
Acknowledgement: A special thanks to Sherry for transcribing this months view!