“What’s Justice?” My Nine-Year-Old Asks. UNITE Linky

I never saw God as just.

It hits me as I sit stunned in my dirty-brown pub chairs, arms leaning on my lap-top, studying the word, “tzedek” meaning, “righteousness” and “justice” in Hebrew.

I have been burdened with this word, “justice” ever since I started homeschooling and my nine-year-old’s inquisitive mind kept asking what “justice” was.

IMGP1587And how do you explain, “justice” is taking back what was rightly someone else’s? How do you describe our work of “carrying for orphans” as a mandate from heaven, branded upon our hearts because of His redemptive work in us to “set the captives free”?

How do you tell a child, our job is to help the weak, the meek, the widows, the orphans in a society that is dependent on so many things, while so many find it easy to close their eyes to others infirmities?

I dig through scripture, like a frantic child roaming through the cupboards for candy or cookies. I don’t want just man’s opinion about what justice is…I want His words, descriptive, true, life giving, light shining understanding…

I find justice 181 times in the Amplified. I read, “He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the stranger (resident alien, foreigner) by giving him food and clothing.” (Deut 10:18)

And, “You shall pursue justice, and only justice [that which is uncompromisingly righteous], so that you may live and take possession of the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deut 16:20)

And I find over and over again, “justice” and “righteousness” going hand in hand.

Yet, I have always seen God as righteousness, but struggled to know Him as just. Why is that?

I also learn, “tzedek”, is tied to blessings for our descendants and land and possessions.

And I am captivated further at why we live in a day and age that can be so corrupted, living filthy and not affected by it,  ignoring people’s hurts and injustices…as if God doesn’t see or care.

The Bible goes on to say that justice is not just some word, but it is actually WHO God is.  And as we become made new, regenerated, we should become more passionate about justice, and more desiring of righteousness pursuits.

Doesn’t scripture tell us, they should know us by our fruits?

Fighting injustice and helping the weak is a mandate, not an option..according to Biblical truth.

Yet, the end doesn’t justify the means. Jewish teachings talk about the need not only to pursue justice for those who are oppressed, but that the way we go about doing it must be integrous, pure, and holy.

And although I love the Robin Hood, steal from the rich, give to the poor methodology in some circumstances…God says we must pursue righteousness and justice piously, or the end result means nothing.

But again, I thought I saw Him as good (righteous) but somehow had been harboring the thoughts that maybe, just maybe God wouldn’t defend me because of some of the messages I got from earlier experiences.

And unlike imperfect parents who let bad things happen, adults who swirl insults or harsh comments….God is not only loving and good, but righteous and just in everything He does and all He is as a Savior. 

What does that mean for us?

That means…

  • Even if today it doesn’t look like God will come through…He hasn’t abandoned us.
  • If it seems like He isn’t listening or doesn’t care…as you follow Him in righteousness, He will defend you.
  • If you unjustly have been made invisible or mistreated, neglected, oppressed or defeated…God has got your back.

And maybe like Abraham, we might not see all the decedents of this life and the promises He has yet…

But eternity itself demands retribution. And God’s promise to pay back everything we sacrificed for His plan, will be paid back.

As you are reading, my guess is, there are some of you who fear the fact that God brings justice to all those who IMGP8394don’t live right…

But, let me tell you…

The weight of all your sin has already been placed upon His shoulders when we give Him our life.

Unlike most religions, our debts aren’t put on a scale, weighed and held against us.

If we confess with our mouth that we are sinners, that Jesus Christ is Lord, acknowledging to Him our offenses…our slate will be made clean.

Our dept will be thrown into the ocean as if we had never known sin. His blood becoming our righteousness. The cross making our guilt and shame extinct.

I tell my nine-year-old, “justice” is making everything right, fighting for the rights of those who have no voice, living life seeing and acting on behalf of those other’s don’t see.

And I cling to “tzedek” because He once warred for us…He warred for me…even when I was too young to see.

God is just. God is tzedek. God is righteousness and justice. And because of that, we can live in faith, fully redeemed...

Living in His righteousness, fighting against injustices too.


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Jen Avellaneda

Jen is an adoptive, foster, & bio mom to trans-racial family. She speaks, writes, & passionately advocates for the orphan domestically & internationally with her husband of twenty-five years.
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  1. Know that I hold you and your family and the others in my prayers. And thank you for this powerful post on justice. Having recently read “Just Mercy” I find that “justice” is a word that is so much more than the 7 letters, so much more than the dictionary definition, so much more. It touches the deep places, the heart, and, as you share in ways here, justice is our God. It doesn’t just touch Him. He is.
    ~ linda recently posted…GratitudeMy Profile

  2. Have you read Overrated by Eugene Cho? I called it “Justice 101” in my review, because he explains concepts so clearly and with such practicality. If you haven’t already checked it out, it would probably be helpful in talking to your very sharp and inquisitive boy. Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
    Michele Morin recently posted…5 Smooth StonesMy Profile

  3. I so enjoyed your thorough word study. I have often pondered the concept of justice, too. Especially when I thought God was allowing something that didn’t seem *fair*. I like how you tied righteousness into the equation. Great words today, thank you.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! May it be filled with faith, family, friends, fellowship…OK, and lots and lots of food!


  4. What a good mom you are – and how confusing to be nine in this crazy world. I love the word tzedek – just, justified, justice, and with our God – right, righteous. Yes, He warred for us – He still does. Thought provoking post, today, Jen. I’m glad I was able to join up.
    Janet recently posted…I Am ScaredMy Profile

  5. Incredible message, Jen! You are one of my favorite link-ups simply because my heart’s expectation is to be blessed by your words and every time I visit with you, you never disappoint. You are such a treasure! GOD bless you, beautiful friend! :-)

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