Justice and Kindness
By: Amanda Idleman
“Thus has the Lord of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.” - Zechariah 7:9-10
The marriage of justice and kindness is a powerful thing! Oftentimes, our culture can either lean toward one of these ideas at the expense of the other. People will push loudly for justice but fail to show compassion through their words and actions. This can lead us to heated online exchanges or uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinners with our extended family that turn ugly because our passion for truth and rightness begins to outweigh our willingness to show kindness to others.
Practicing kindness and compassion begins close to home with your brothers and sisters - meaning your family and those you do life with. That kindness should expand past your home into the community. We are to show kindness to the widow, orphan, stranger, and poor. Kindness and compassion should characterize all of our interactions.
On the other hand, we can have a tendency to glorify kindness as our salvation against any culpability in our role perpetuating injustice in our society. We see ourselves as “kind to all” or a “good person” so we fail to recognize our passive participation in the brokenness of our world. We let kindness be a “free pass” from having to engage in the work of pursuing justice.
As a culture, we tend to shy away from the concept of sin and focus on a person's good behavior as something that exempts them from the need to accept God’s redemptive saving power. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory is what we read in Romans 3:23. Not one of us can be saved by our own good works.
Kindness alone is not enough because kindness does not deal with matters of the heart. Justice is the force that peels back the layers and reveals more than just what meets the eyes to expose brokenness. We can only find healing as people and as a society when the power of God’s justice is unleashed. Thankfully, God in His kindness is a merciful judge. He offers us a way around our death sentence through Jesus.
Show kindness and compassion for all while pursuing justice - this is God’s way. Matthew Henry’s Commentary explains that what God wanted from his people even more than the religious practices of fasting or sacrifice was for them to be people that do justly, love mercy, and pursue public welfare and peace. Let us pray that God will provide us the strength and wisdom we need to marry kindness and justice.
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page, Blog or follow her on Instagram.
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