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Justice

 

Justice

The story has been told of a man who was caught and taken to court because he had stolen a loaf of bread. When the judge investigated, he found out that the man had no job, and his family was hungry. He had tried unsuccessfully to get work and finally, to feed his family, he had stolen a loaf of bread. Although recognizing the extenuating circumstances, the judge said, “I’m sorry, but the law can make no exceptions. You stole, and therefore I have to punish you. I order you to pay a fine of ten dollars.” He then continued, “But I want to pay the fine myself.” He reached into his pocket, pulled out a ten-dollar bill, and handed it to the man.

As soon as the man took the money, the judge said, “Now I also want to remit the fine.” That is, the man could keep the money. “Furthermore, I am going to instruct the bailiff to pass around a hat to everyone in this courtroom, and I am fining everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a city where a man has to steal in order to have bread to eat.” The money was collected and given to the defendant.

This is an excellent example of justice being meted out in full and paid in full-while mercy and grace were also enacted in full measure. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

FAIR

A socialist once came to see Andrew Carnegie and soon was railing against the injustice of Carnegie having so much money. In his view, wealth was meant to be divided equally. Carnegie asked his secretary for an assessment of everything he owned and at the same time looked up the figures on world population. He did a little arithmetic on a pad and then said to his secretary. "Give this gentleman l6 cents. That's his share of my wealth."

Unknown.

 

INJUSTICE

To do injustice is more disgraceful than to suffer it.

Plato.


There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

Elie Wiesel.


That great American hero, editor, school teacher, and Presbyterian clergyman Elijah Lovejoy left the pulpit and returned to the press in order to be sure his words reached more people. The Civil War might have been averted and a peaceful emancipation of slaves achieved had there been more like him. After observing one lynching, Lovejoy was committed forever to fighting uncompromisingly the awful sin of slavery. Mob action was brought against him time after time; neither this nor many threats and attempts on his life deterred him. Repeated destruction of his presses did not stop him. "If by compromise is meant that I should cease from my duty, I cannot make it. I fear God more that I fear man. Crush me if you will, but I shall die at my post..." And he did, four days later, at the hands of another mob. Not one of the ruffians was prosecuted or indicted or punished in any way for this murder. (Some of Lovejoy's defenders were prosecuted! One of the mob assassins was later elected mayor of Alton!)

However, note this: One young man was around who was deeply moved by the Lovejoy martyrdom. He had just been elected to the Illinois legislature. His name was Abraham Lincoln.

Paul Simon, "Elijah Lovejoy," Presbyterian Life, 18:13 (November 1, 1965), quoted in K. Mennenger, Whatever Became of Sin, p. 210.


Humor

Life is unjust. Upon accepting an award, the late Jack Benny once remarked, "I really don't deserve this. But I have arthritis, and I don't deserve that either."

Haddon Robinson, Leadership, IV, 3, p. 94.

 

JUSTICE

A socialist once came to see Andrew Carnegie and soon was railing against the injustice of Carnegie having so much money. In his view, wealth was meant to be divided equally. Carnegie asked his secretary for an assessment of everything he owned and at the same time looked up the figures on world population. He did a little arithmetic on a pad and then said to his secretary. "Give this gentleman l6 cents. That's his share of my wealth."

Source Unknown.


Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice.

H.L. Mencken, Prejudices.


Supreme Court Justice Horace Gray once informed a man who had appeared before him in a lower court and had escaped conviction on a technicality, "I know that you are guilty and you know it, and I wish you to remember that one day you will stand before a better and wiser Judge, and that there you will be dealt with according to justice and not according to law." Surprised while burgling a house in Antwerp, Belgium, the thief fled out the back door, clambered over a nine-foot wall, dropped down the other side, and found himself in the city prison.

Oops: The Book of Blunders, 1980.

 

RIGHTEOUSNESS

In the Antarctic summer of 1908-9, Sir Ernest Shackleton and three companions attempted to travel to the South Pole from their winter quarters. They set off with four ponies to help carry the load. Weeks later, their ponies dead, rations all but exhausted, they turned back toward their base, their goal not accomplished.

Altogether, they trekked 127 days. On the return journey, as Shackleton records in The Heart of the Antarctic, the time was spent talking about food -- elaborate feasts, gourmet delights, sumptuous menus. As they staggered along, suffering from dysentery, not knowing whether they would survive, every waking hour was occupied with thoughts of eating. Jesus, who also knew the ravages of food deprivation, said,

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for RIGHTEOUSNESS." We can understand Shackleton's obsession with food, which offers a glimpse of the passion Jesus intends for our quest for righteousness.

Source Unknown.