Justice vs. Corruption
"Taking PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY to uphold what is pure, right, and true"
JUSTICE - A Five-Minute Study
Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky
Contributed by Margaret Garner
Senior Associate, Worldwide Discipleship Association, Fayetteville, GA
April 8, 2002
Taking personal responsibility to uphold what is pure, right, and true.
BIBLICAL EXAMPLE DAVID’S CONFESSION in II Samuel 12 and Psalm 51
The word “justice” usually brings to mind a court room with a judge and jury; however, the word “justice” can also apply to a character quality in our lives which indicates that we stand for what is pure, right and true. David, a well-known Old Testament character (1090-960 BC), is remembered for the high points of his life: his conflict with Saul, His leadership of Israel as God’s chosen, his military victories, and for the low points: his adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah.
I Samuel 12 tells us that Nathan was sent by God to expose David’s sin. Nathan’s approach was to tell David a story about a rich man who stole a sheep from a poor man to feed a traveler, and when David expressed his anger at the rich man Nathan declared “You are the man!” He went on to accuse David of the murder of Uriah and of taking Uriah’s wife (Bathsheba) for his own, and to pronounce the punishment that God was going to give David.
David’s response to Nathan (and to God) was “I have sinned against the Lord.” (I Samuel 12:13) In Psalm 51, which David wrote after Nathan confronted him, he writes:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgression. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me, Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. (Psalm 51: 1-4, 7-9)
David took responsibility for his sin; for violating God’s law which is pure, right and true. He did not rationalize, make excuses, or blame others. He admitted his guilt and confessed that indeed he had not only sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah, but he had sinned against God Himself. This honesty revealed David’s understanding of justice in his own life.
JUSTICE IN OUR LIVES
Some practical evidences of justice we can see in our lives today are seen in the following “I will” statements:
I will respect the authority of the law.
I will speak out for what is pure, right and true.
I will never prejudice others.
I will always remain open to reason.
I will keep my own conscience clean.
Divide into pairs and discuss:
- What are some of the reasons for not standing for justice in our lives? (Possible answers: fear, selfishness, ignorance, peer pressure, embarrassment, etc.)
- What are some real life examples you can think of in which people sometimes don’t want to take responsibility for upholding the good (justice)? (Possible answers: in business dealings where “just a little cheating” is ok, in paying taxes when taking some suspect deductions, ignoring a traffic ticket, etc.)
- What are some of the benefits of standing for what is pure, right and true? (Possible answers: God is pleased; conscience is clear, peaceful; society benefits, good example for others, etc.)
JUSTICE IN MY LIFE THIS WEEK
Spend a few minutes in personal reflection:
- As you have done this lesson, is your conscience clear? If not, what do you need to do to clear it? Make a specific plan to follow through. Share the plan with a trusted friend and ask him to hold you accountable.
- If your conscience is clear, look over the 5 “I will” statements. Which of the 5 is the most difficult for you to live on a daily basis? Why do you think this is true? Decide what positive step you will make this week to begin to grow in this area. Share this step with a trusted friend and ask him to hold you accountable.
This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.