The vital importance of justice
In numerous countries of the world, the guilty get away and often the prisons are full of innocent people, many of whom have never even been tried or convicted. ‘Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent – the Lord detests them both’ (v.15). Both are terrible forms of injustice. They are detestable to God and have a damaging impact on society.
A great deal of the problem is caused by bribery. ‘The wicked accept bribes in secret to pervert the course of justice’ (v.23). One lawyer in a developing country told me that if you want a case to get to court faster than the usual approximately ten-year delay, you have to ‘oil the wheels’; a euphemism for bribery.
The struggle for justice is a serious responsibility. It requires hard work and could easily lead to burnout. The book of Proverbs is full of balanced wisdom.
It reminds us of the need for family and friends: ‘Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble’ (v.17, MSG). Do all you can to avoid petty arguments. ‘The one who loves a quarrel loves sin’ (v.19). Unnecessary quarrelling can separate families and even close friends.
As well as family and friends, fun is important: ‘A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired’ (v.22, MSG). Don’t take yourself too seriously. We need to laugh at ourselves. Laughter is like an internal workout. It exercises your soul and keeps it healthy.
Lord, show us what you want us to do as individuals and as a church to make justice available to all. Help us to keep balance in our lives, taking our responsibilities seriously and still finding a place for family, friends and fun.