Biblical Justice

Romans 13 says:

"...it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep."

That's a good place to start, right?  So here is where my head and heart have been lately...

My moderation and concern for the welfare of others would probably make me seem like a social democrat, if not a downright socialist in the current political environment.  That seems odd, because I feel like I am just a proponent of ordinary, not extraordinary, compassion.

Old Testament teachings that my pastor has presented recently, state over and over that Biblical justice is doing the right thing by the disadvantaged and restoring them to the community. You cannot be deemed righteous before God without living in justice towards neighbors and strangers. Justice and righteousness are inseparable, nearly always paired in Scripture, being two sides of the same coin.  In Old Testament culture, providing for these needs is perceived as granting these people their basic rights.

One such passage is Deuteronomy 27:19, which states:

"Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien, the orphan, and the widow of justice. All the people shall say Amen!"

One additional passage, of many additional relevant passages from the Gospels, is Matthew 20:1-16.  The parable of the vineyard owner who pays the same wage to the laborers whether they worked all day, part of the day, or one hour.

Again, what stands out is the radical nature of God's justice. A superficial reading likely brings a person to our idea of "fairness" -- being a bit disgruntled on behalf of those who worked all day. But If we consider the laborers' wages as eternal life, all I can think about is why the people who worked all day could not be satisfied with the wage (or gift) of the blessings of this life and of eternal life.  They were only too glad to work under that agreement until they found out that someone they deemed "undeserving" was getting the same thing.

Why are some humans only content if they have more than someone else? When is enough, enough? Then if we are talking about justice and equality, why do some humans have to be "more equal?"  How does raising up others who have been disadvantaged by class or race or gender possibly diminish those who have comparative advantage?