by Doy Moyer
“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24)
We typically think of justice as being connected to our legal system, and this is important. However, justice, biblically, must also be practiced personally. It isn’t just about what we do legally; it’s about how we as individuals treat other people.
We “do justice” (Micah 6:8) by treating others with respect and dignity for one basic reason: people are made in God’s image. Think about one specific application given by James. After making the point about taming the tongue, he writes, “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God” (James 3:9). Cursing people, all of whom are made in God’s image, is committing an injustice against those people.
So, while committing crimes against others should be legally punished, let’s remember the personal side of this. Mistreating others is unjust. Cursing people is unjust. Gossip, unloving behavior, slander, and other sins against others are all committing injustices against them.
Make it personal. If you care about justice, you will care about how you treat other people. Therefore, “love your neighbor,” which does no harm to others (Romans 13:9-10), and “whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12). If we do this, justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.