Charity · Justice · Love

Charity Triumphs Over Justice

In my blog  Defending Justice From the Social Warriors  I defined  justice. My base and simple definition: justice is people being able to own themselves and their possessions.

In a follow-up article, Jesus Discusses Justice , I wrote how I believe Jesus taught this same definition of justice. The question automatically follows from those who do not like this definition of justice: “If this is your definition, then how will people be taken care of? Won’t people starve, be cold, be poor or the like?”

This is when social warriors  start appealing to the state. They start demanding what they believe is justice, which ends up being the antitheses of justice (see Defending Justice from the Social Warriors). They claim that this is not Christian, because like the Good Samaritan, Christians are supposed to take care of each other.

I dispelled the myth in the story of the Good Samaritan proving socialism or charity by force in the article Was the Good Samaritan a Socialist? I talked about how the story of the Good Samaritan did not prove charity via force, but through volunteerism. So the question is, does that mean that the Christian is not responsible for taking care of his fellow man? Because justice is “owning one’s person or possessions,” does that mean that we should never care about another’s person or possessions?

The answer is an emphatic no! First, we do a good job at remembering to help guard our person or possessions. We must also care about others’ person or possessions. I am not saying that we are directly responsible for every person that has an injustice committed against them. We can not save or fix the world. But there are times that the Christian can defend someone else’s person or possessions, and therefore defend justice itself.

That still leaves many without. Someone could have their person and possessions protected, and still not have all of their needs met, because they have very little or no possessions. Should we sit back as Christians, and think, well, justice is happening to them? By no means.

I Corinthians 13 has the answer for us. I Corinthians 13 is often known as the love chapter. Not only is it known as that, it is often what is read at Christian weddings. This is a great start to a Christian marriage, and if a husband and wife could live out a marriage in this manner, then they would have a successful marriage.

At the same time I think that we sell ourselves short by only using I Corinthians 13 in the context of marriage. This passage does not specifically speak to marriage, therefore it can be used in a variety of relationships. Whether towards a friend, relative, neighbor or stranger, Christians can practice love in a variety of ways.

Let’s go back to our idea of justice. Again, some would say that if we use the definition of justice “people own themselves and their possessions” that many will not be taken care of. I would contend that that is not the case, because I believe that many believe in the idea of Christian charity. In fact, for the Christian, charity should triumph over justice.

I Corinthians 13:13 says, So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Love is the greatest. For those who do  not have their needs met, we don’t say, well, it is just because they have what they earned. Christian charity can rise above justice. It should precede and overcome justice. The Christian should look at someone who is without and say, “I can meet that need, even though this person doesn’t have their needs met because they have justly earned their position, I will step in through love, and help give them what they need.”

That is what Christ did for us, did he not? Christians are sinners in need of a Savior. We justly earned condemnation and Hell. Our possession was condemnation. Yet Jesus stepped in, died on the cross, sacrificed Himself to meet our need. He showed how charity triumphs over justice.

One thing that we must think through is who is allowed to give out charity. Sometimes third parties demand charity from someone who has been wronged by another. We must remember that charity is something that we give out from us to others, it is not taking from others and giving to someone. In other words, sometimes there must be justice, and we cannot push justice aside for charity, we must let justice run its’ course.

So is justice the ultimate winner? No, charity is, love is. We can take the example of our Savior and put others before ourselves. We can put charity over justice. This can be done not through force, but should be a voluntary act of the Christian life. We must let it be voluntary, not through force, because if it is force, it is not love. If we are forced to give our possessions away, this is not charity, just obligation.

How are you giving love over justice? In what ways are you being charitable? What people in your home, church, community, and family are you helping? Are you selfish claiming all of your possessions to yourself, or are you being someone who acts like Jesus and looks on the needs of others?

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