For the past four decades, conservative Christians have flocked to vote for politicians who promise to be tough on crime. That is understandable since we believe that people should be held accountable for their actions. However, it is more important for us to support people who are right on crime. In our zeal to see “justice” done, we must remember that justice is more than putting people in prison. It is also clearing those who have committed no crime so they can get on with living their lives.
Demands for justice may be getting louder and louder, but that doesn’t mean we are making progress as a society. The only worldview framework solid enough to groundhuman dignity and justice in human history is Christianity. True justice is a matter of honoring God and honoring the image of God inherent in every human person, and is grounded in God’s love for humanity, our love of God, and our love of neighbor.
One of the great contributions of Christianity to human history is the very idea that all people should be treated justly. As the influence of Christianity spread across the world, God’s instructions for how Israel should treat the poor and the disabled and the unborn and the foreigner spread as well. Today, both inside and outside of the church, demands to address injustices are ubiquitous.
May 25 was the day when the world became aware of a reality that already existed. African slaves were first imported into what we know as America four hundred years earlier. Racial minorities have been dealing with discrimination for centuries. If you’re like most of us, you wish we were making more progress than we are on this front.
The protesting and rioting and angry social media posting and breathless news reporting run the gamut of helpful to unhelpful, righteous anger to unrighteous opportunism. And yet, we are seeing across the nation and around the world, a fundamental feature of humankind and the world we live in. There is an expectation that such a thing as justice exists, and that it should be done.