Justice Starts on the Inside

batman having a bad day
Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathanlewis/4414860555/">Nathan Lewis</a>

Jeremiah 31:31-34

“Without fail,” God says, “I’ll make a new deal with Israel and Judah.”

“It won’t be like the deal I made with the ancients when I personally brought them out from slavery in Egypt. They reneged on that deal, even though I was the boss,” God says.

“Here’s the deal I’ll soon make with Israel,” God says. “I’ll make justice second nature to them. I’ll write what’s right into their very DNA. I’ll be their God, and they’ll be my people. They won’t have to teach each other to know God, because it’ll be a given for everyone from the average schmo to the king.”

God says, “I’ll commute their sentence. It’ll be like their evildoing never happened.”

To know God is to have justice be second nature. For a nation to know God doesn’t require having a “Christian” President. It requires people to do right, “from the average schmo to the king.”

It’s a pretty tall order. But that’s the deal.

From a human perspective, something becomes second nature by practice. Justice, like anything else, is something that improves with practice. It’s a matter of forming good habits. By repetition. Over and over, in every situation, doing the right thing. Doing the sometimes hard thing.

The good news is, the capacity to do right, just as much as the capacity to do wrong, is written into human DNA. It’s not impossible. Truly, the capacity to reflect, to weigh the options, and to choose a response is one of the things that makes us human.

What is true of humans is also true of their institutions. Only instead of habits, we call institutional habits “culture.” Whether it’s corporate culture, church culture, or national culture. How much the DNA of justice is present in the culture is a function of how many of it’s humans have the justice DNA, and how many of them exercise it to the point where it becomes second nature.

Changing the culture, and doing justice, starts with changing you.