Virtue 5: Justice
He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LOVE require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
Reverend Tim Keller authored an entire book on the concept of Christian justice, Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just. When interviewed about this work and asked to provide a summary definition of justice, Reverend Keller said, “Caring for the vulnerable.” He also provided an umbrella definition of justice: “Giving people what they deserve.” While that definition can have a negative tone (i.e., finding and stopping evildoers), he described a positive aspect as well: “Looking to the vulnerable—to people made in the image of God—and asking ourselves: ‘Are they getting the kind of care they’re due? As beings made in God’s image, are they being cared for properly?’” He then boils down justice to this: “Giving people what they are due. So we punish evildoers, and we care for the vulnerable.” This is a very tight definition of a very complex issue.
If a man without justice were a Knight, it would follow that justice would not be in that place where in fact it is, and that knighthood would be something altogether different from what it is. Nor is it relevant that a Knight may have a smattering of justice and believes himself to be in the Order of Knighthood—if he is, in truth, injurious, he doesn’t belong at all. For knighthood and justice are so intimately intertwined that knighthood cannot survive without justice. An injurious Knight is an enemy of justice and defeats and expels himself from the Order.
Scripture reveals that God loves justice (“For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face” (Psalm 11:7)) and that justice is the foundation of his throne (“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you” (Psalm 89:14)). Not only is justice the concrete that makes up the foundation of God’s throne, those who live by it are promised to bless:
Sometimes living justly can include actively working to establish and uphold justice as well as loosening the chains of injustice:
o To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I [Wisdom] hate pride and arrogance, evil behaviour, and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mines; I have understanding and power.
By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just; by me princes govern, and all nobles who rule on earth (Proverbs 8:13-16).
Believe it or not, God will give you several opportunities to exercise justice in both these ways of establishing justice and preventing injustice.
To administer justice badly or to neglect the customs that are most essential to his knightly duty is simply to despise the Order itself; therefore, as all these things aforementioned concern a Knight’s physical preparedness, so justice, wisdom, charity, loyalty, truth, humility, strength, hope, promptness and all other similar virtues pertain to the preparedness of the Knight’s soul. If a Knight is consumed with pride and seeks by that means to uphold the Order of Knighthood, he is, in fact, corrupting it, for his Order was founded on justice and humility with a view to protecting the humble against the proud.”
Ponder on these questions.
1. How can a modern-day knight fight injustice?
2. How can a modern-day knight establish justice?
3. How can a modern-day knight uphold justice?
4. Why is justice important to God?
5. How do we actively pursue justice?