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Is there no justice?

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

June 4, 1999



I was reading a book that startled me with this sentence: "Want of uniform justice is a crying evil caused by the selfishness and inhumanity of man" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, pg. 64). Today, with world conflict exploding and multiplying - and with smaller (but no less dismaying) events occurring in their own neighborhoods - people wonder where to look next.

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We know of injustice in the workplace; we hear about it from neighbors; often we see horrendous reports on the news. How to end injustice? I went further into the book to get Mrs. Eddy's opinion.

In a chapter called "Footsteps of Truth," I found the idea that, as we progress through life, each of us works sort of like a sculptor. It's not stone we mold and chisel; it's thought.

I stopped to think about this. My mother-in-law was a sculptor. In talking with her, I found that whether the piece she was working on was abstract or representational, she always had a clear, sharply focused mental image of the form or concept she was trying to produce. Many times, when a piece wasn't coming out right, it was because the image in thought wasn't defined sharply enough.

For example, one time she'd been sculpting a koala bear out of a large piece of wood. But the back of the animal looked wrong. So she searched for weeks, getting pictures of koala bears in different positions and profiles, all in the interest of getting the right model in her thought before continuing to carve. Whenever she had the right idea in thought, she could execute it.

Now, if you and I are sculptors of our lives, and we want them to be good, productive lives, we need to examine what our models are. If we are consumed in thought with scenes and ideas of injustice, we're going to continue to carve that picture out in our lives. It will be impossible to achieve anything different.

Toward the end of that section on thought-sculpting, Eddy broadened her discussion: "We must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives. Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love - the kingdom of heaven - reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear" (pg. 248).

Justice is a spiritual quality, attributable to God. It encompasses honesty, fairness, mercy, compassion, truth, goodness. Because God is the originator of justice, it has the strength and permanence, the authority and power, of God. A God-governed man or woman, inevitably, is going to be just - someone who executes justice.

If we are under the control of God, divine Truth, we have to be truthful. If this divine Truth is omnipotent, then truthfulness is the only operative power in us. We can expect it to destroy any tendency toward dishonesty or injustice. This points to the Christian method of bringing more justice into the world - to encourage the development of concepts like these.

A careful reading of the Bible reveals that we do have this ability to be good, just, honest, truthful, compassionate. It promises we've been created in God's own image. These qualities are part of our divine design. It's as we understand this that good qualities become more prominent in our human character. And that we can learn how to nurture their emergence in the people we deal with.

We can't ignore injustice. Yet brooding over it inevitably breeds more of it. But seeking the source of justice, by discovering more of the omnipotence of God, impels the very actions and conditions that renew justice.

So a first step is to learn that justice is an attribute of God. This means it is eternal, indestructible, all-powerful, ever-active. A second step is to see that God expresses justice in His sons and daughters. He causes them to manifest justice. A third step is to realize that this isn't an abstract concept, but that it defines our actual interrelationship with God.

With this model in thought, we'll see greater fulfillment of a promise made by the prophet Jeremiah: "The days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth" (Jer. 23:5).