Justice: Between Certainty and Doubt

In the pursuit of justice we often find ourselves in the uncomfortable space between certainty and doubt.

The hours of statements, questions, outbursts, and media commentary remind us that acheiving justice isn’t always an easy thing. And, if I can admit it, it’s this that gives me a measure of gratitude for what we have in Christianity. As the senate committee stumbled and fumbled in their confusion, I was led to be thankful for the way the wisdom of God meets us in that uncomfortable place.

 

Yesterday as I sat in an airport in Rhode Island I was captivated by what some have called the most momentous “he said, she said” showdown of our time. Without a doubt this comes at an important time politically and socially. There’s been a widespread movement encouraging victims to give voice to the hidden suffering of sexual harassment and abuse. As the father of four little women I gratefully applaud the brave and courageous people who have confronted this wickedness that saturates the society my daughters are growing up in. Politically the stakes are high and, in an effort to be an equal offender, both sides showed themselves to be masters of circus acrobats that would almost be laughable if real people and families weren’t being destroyed. As a citizen I’m embarrassed, concerned, and pessimistic.

In the course of watching the hearing one memorable comment, at least for me, came near the end from Senator Jeff Flake. He made the observation that imperfect people have to make imperfect decisions about a case where there’s “as much doubt as certainty.” Whether you think that accurately characterizes this particular situation, Senator Flake is right about one thing: in the pursuit of justice we often find ourselves in the uncomfortable space between certainty and doubt. The hours of statements, questions, outbursts, and media commentary remind us that acheiving justice isn’t always an easy thing.

And, if I can admit it, it’s this that gives me a measure of gratitude for what we have in Christianity. As the senate committee stumbled and fumbled in their confusion, I was led to be thankful for the way the wisdom of God meets us in that uncomfortable place. Namely, I was thankful for –:

God’s Nature: God is just. That is to say, in the perfection of his divine nature God doesn’t only exercise justice but he is just. The Psalmist teaches us to sing: “Good and upright is the LORD” (Psalm 25:8). And because God is what he is (Exodus 3:14) he can only be just. There’s nothing, to speak in a simple manner, that can compromise or set aside his justice – not his love, not his mercy, not his grace for all that he is, he is. In fact, the greatest demonstration of this is the cross of Christ where, through the death of his Son, God is both the “just and the justifier” of the ungodly (Romans 3:26) and by which he can be both faithful and just to forgive us our sins (1 John 1:9).

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