Justice for Some II
The movie “Flash of Genius” tells the story of Robert Kearns and his invention of the intermittent windshield wiper. In the movie, Ford Motor Company infringed Kearns’ patent on the device. The movie shows Ford Motor’s using Kearns’s invention without giving him credit or compensation. Kearns is incensed at the injustice. He launches a multi-year legal battle against Ford. He eventually won (Oops! sorry for the spoiler) but the toll for victory was high. He had a nervous breakdown. The legal wrangling cost him substantial money and time. He got divorced. His children grew up estranged from him. His attorney quit. He was a man obsessed with righting a wrong. Was it worth it?
The New Living Translation Bible says those who hunger and thirst for justice will be satisfied. Most of us have a fairly good understanding of what justice looks like, but when we encounter injustice we are often quick to cry foul and complain about it, though we seldom take action. It’s just too time-consuming and costly to fight every injustice we encounter. After a while, we don’t fight any injustice. Kearns family did not have the same hunger for justice.
Now that I’ve been on the planet a while, I think almost every person or family eventually encounters a significant injustice. Some people encounter several major injustices in their lifetime. I’m just grateful for those among us who clearly perceive egregious injustice and take action. They cherish justice. They impact this world and make it better. People who hunger and thirst for justice have a special place in the heart of God. Yes, I understand it can be a thin line between passion and unhealthy obsession.
Still, the Bible doesn’t say we won’t have opposition in pursuit of justice. It doesn’t say it won’t cost us. It doesn’t promise safety throughout the struggle for justice. It doesn’t promise we will always win. On the other hand, it does say justice is extremely valuable and near to the heart of God. Maybe God’s heart for justice should change our perspective about things like serving on a jury (just a thought).
Here’s the thing: We are not responsible for all outcomes in the pursuit of justice. There will be times when justice gets perverted. Ultimately God’s purpose prevails. Our responsibility is to push back against injustice. Also, two of the most beneficial questions a Christian can ask God are: Am I a just person? Do I confront injustice in the way I live?
On a personal level, God’s justice is indispensible. It provides the context we need to experience God’s love. If God’s love is the medicine we need, then God’s justice is the diagnosis.