Justice is Love
A practical Guide to Love
By Richard Salbato
God is love and love is God. This is the teaching of the Church. If God is also justice, then justice has to be a form of love. God is love and he forgives sins. We must be forgiven to enter into Heaven since we all sin. So why is there a Purgatory? God is love and he wants to forgive everyone. So why is there a Hell? Is Purgatory and Hell a form of God's love. Of course the answer is "Yes!" otherwise God would be contradicting God, and that cannot happen.
The answer is self evident and that is that Justice is love because God loves all including Himself, and if people do injustice to other people or to God then they must repent and seek to repay the injustice before God can forgive them. Even when God forgives He still requires the payment of the injustice be made on earth. If the payment has not been paid and God has forgiven the person, the payment must still be made after death and that is what Purgatory is for.
God wants to forgive everyone but because some people do not want to be forgiven for many reasons, mostly because they justify their sins, God cannot forgive them. This is the only reason people end up in Hell. God's loves all and wants all to enter into Heaven but most do not make it and end up in Hell. This is also love, because if God allowed injustice and did not require it to be paid back, He would be unjust to the victims of sin. Justice then is love and there is no other way to look at it.
Love and justice are willing of good to others.
Love, like Justice, is the willing of good to others. Can we say we love, if we allow injustice to others or even to ourselves? When we overlook injustice to ourselves, are we helping the person who did the injustice to us? Are we loving if we forgive injustice without demanding a just payment of debt? Do we love if we overlook the sins of our friends and family?
These are the questions we will try to address here. "Love one another for love sums up the commandments" but Justice is the most important of the cardinal virtues. Is there a contradiction between the greatest commandment and the greatest of the virtues? No! They are the same. Justice, like love, is a moral quality or habit which perfects the will and inclines it to render to each and to all what belongs to them. Justice, like love, demands not compassionate words, but compassionate action. To the Christian compassion has an eternal meaning and not a momentary meaning.
In the 20th Century people have a false idea of peace and a false idea of love. People today think that peace is the absence of conflict and they avoid all conflict no matter what. But this outward sign of peace is not peace, but only the absence of conflict and whenever there is an absence of conflict then good and evil are married.
There is and must be conflict between good and evil. Often justice requires conflict and peace is often on the other side of war. Rome brought peace to the world by overpowering everyone else, but they did not bring justice with the peace.
Love also requires some conflict to be true love. However, many today think that everything must be done to avoid conflict at any costs and therefore we have mothers and fathers that never say "No!" to their children because otherwise there might be a conflict - the child might not "love" them. They even go so far as helping them with money and clothes that allows them to sin. The same thing happens with husbands and wives who live in peace without justice and without true love because they avoid conflicts. This is also true of friends who maintain a fake friendship by accepting each other the way they are and never say anything that might improve one or the other because this requires a period of strife and suffering.
Love, like Justice, is the willing of good to others. But willing the good in others to a Christian is willing the eternal good and not the temporary apparent good.
Thou shall not be a victim; thou shall not be a perpetrator; and above all, thou shall not be a bystander.
Peace lovers today would give up all justice. They would look the other way as millions die in civil wars in Africa. "It is not my problem". They say nothing as millions die in jails in China. "It is not my problem." They feel sorry for the Christians being killed or persecuted by the hundreds of thousands in Moslem countries, and say they will pray for them, but not lift an hand to help.
When people are wrongly slandered or lied about, these lovers of peace do nothing but claim they love everyone.
They do not love peace, they hate conflict. They are just cowards.
We all know that Christ is a lover of peace. We all know that God is Pure Love. And yet, how do we rectify God saying to the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:13-39 that they are hypocrites, blind guides and serpents. He said these things face to face and in front of large crowds. Would not the modern person say that this is calumny, slander or defamation of character?
Also St. Paul said to the false prophet, Barjesu, "O full of all guile, and of all deceit, child of the devil, enemy of all justice, thou ceased not to pervert the right ways of the Lord. And now behold the hand of the Lord is upon you and you shall be blind not seeing the sun for a time." Acts 13:9-11 Was this calumny, slander or defamation of character? Is Paul loving Barjesu?
"And when he had made, as it were, a scourge of little cords, he drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also and the oxen and the money of the changes he poured out and the tables he overthrew." John 2:15 So even violence is love when you look at love as willing the eternal good of people. For it is better to be scourged now than spend eternity in Hell later.
Truth must be our first love
Saint Paul said: "Am I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?" Galatians 4:16 The first love we must have is to the truth, because only loving truth is a true love and only in truth is there true justice. "Think ye, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no! but separation. For there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided: three against two and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son and the son against the father, the mother against the daughter and the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." Luke 12:51 This is because the truth of God is more important than peace and harmony even in families.
"Some have shipwrecked concerning the faith, of whom is Hymeneus and Alexander, whom I have delivered up to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme." Timothy 1:20
"Thou know this, that all they who are in Asia, are turned away from me: of whom are Phigellus and Hermogeues." 2 Timothy 1:15
And their speech spreads like a cancer, of whom are Hymeneus and Philetus." 2 Timothy 2:17
"For Demas has left me loving the world and is gone to Thessalonica." 2 Timothy 4:09
I have written perhaps to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the pre-eminence among them, does not receive us." 3 John 1:09
There are eight Christians that the Apostles condemned publicly by name. Is this calumny, slander or defamation of character or is this Christian eternal love?
Love creates righteousness, or justice, here on earth. To make love is to make justice. As advocates and activists for justice know, loving involves struggle, resistance, risk.
Practical Examples and Results of false Love
As stated Christian love is eternal love, that is willing the eternal good of people (meaning Heaven) and not the temporary good or well being of someone at the expense of eternal happiness. Sometimes, as seen in the Bible by Christ and the Apostles, we must expose sin and untruth for the common good and the good of the sinners. To demonstrate this let us look at true life examples of good people doing injustice to avoid conflict, since they believe that conflict is not love, when in fact conflict as a major arm of love.
A man believes that he must hide the sins of his ex-wife the avoid calumny, or his children thinking badly of their mother. This he does for 30 years. But the results are bad both on earth and after. For not trusting that the man had not said anything about the sins, the wife continued to slander the ex-husband for over 30 years just in case he might say anything and be believed. The results were the loss of his children, the ex-wife's soul, and all the childhood friends of the man.
For pride and profit a rich women slandered a man to push him out of the way to get close to an internationally known person and to become close friends. To avoid calumny, or the loss of reputation to the internationally known person, the slandered man remained silent for 15 years. The famous person knew the truth but would not risk the bad publicity and the reputation of several people in the center group. The man and truth were sacrificed for expediency. After 15 years of silence, the man saw that he had done the wrong thing, for not only did this sin continue, but more people were harmed to protect the core group and keep others out. Truth must never be sacrificed for expediency.
A man worked long and hard in a partnership with a friend, but in time saw that the man was doing immoral and illegal things. Although owed a great deal of money he simply walked away to avoid conflict and his own reputation. He resolved to say nothing as to why. Problem was that the men doing the immoral and illegal things had to explain why the man left without saying a word after doing so much work. To answer these questions and in fear that he would in fact say something they made up lies as to why he left damaging his reputation to everyone he knew. The two man who did this went on to slander and damage 33 other people on an international level. Not only are their eternal souls in danger because they were not stopped in the beginning but other people were damaged because the first man did not demand justice.
In the above three cases the men and the people around them should have stood up for the truth even at the expense of exposing the sins of the others, because in the long run many more people were damaged, the souls of the wrong doers were not helped, justice was not served and love was lost.
Hell is full of unrepentant, unpaid debts to sin and self justified harm to others. God is pure love so even Hell is a result of His love, for God's love is for all eternal souls, and when one soul causes cancer to others it must be cut out and if it cannot be cured it must be burned, but being eternal like God its fire is eternal. If we are to imitate God's love, we must correct the sinner so that he avoids Hell.
Therefore true Christina love, corrects the sinner and demands justice here on earth so that the more extreme justice after death is not seen.
There can be no love without justice. Is it love when we pay a debt late, causing someone else to pay a debt late? Is it love when we overlook very serious sins of our loved ones or friends to avoid conflict? Is it love when we justify the wrongs of our government simply because it is our government? Is it love when we look the other way as injustice is done around us simply because we do not want conflict or even to be bothered?
Justice in Charity
The true Bible word for love, Agape, is Charity because to God love is an action word and not a feeling. Charity is the action but this does not always mean to give money to others but to will and do good to others. True Christians are always looking for ways to do good to others, even those they do not meet - a warm smile walking down the street, being polite and clean in a coffee shop, thanking people for doing what they do just to make them feel good about it. Simple politeness is charity and therefore is love. Of course we should help people also but in this we should be careful.
A very charitable person said, "No good deed goes unpunished." He is very right. Often we help people with money and one of two things happen - they are embarrassed for needing the help and therefore avoid the giver from then on, or they think because he helped them in a little thing, he should help them in bigger things and if he does not he is considered bad. This is charity at the expense of justice.
Another example of charity at the expense of justice is helping those who take advantage of help and expect it. Some case studies will explain. A priest wants to buy a table and chairs so he asks help with a van to drive him around. He goes to one store but the price is too high. He asks the van driver to take him to another and another and in each case he argues about the price. Finally after five stores he buys a plastic patio table and four chairs at a total cost of $30.00. Now the man who ran him all over town spent $50.00 in gas but this was not the priest's money. Again the same priest wants to by a living room set and the same man takes him to a place where the prices are very good. There is a set at a very fair price but being a priest he wants to get a better price and offers even less and even argues for the lower price. Perhaps the man selling the furniture needs money badly and sells at a lower price, but it this justice. Justice is paying the right and just price for things.
Again the priest did not consider the time and money lost by the charitable van driver. After years of this the driver just said, "No!" Now he is the bad guy because he is not being used by the priest. But in the eyes of the priest he lacks charity. Truth is one should pay for help if one can even if it is not wanted. If someone offers to take you somewhere you should not ask if he wants gas money, you should insist that he takes it and even force it upon him.
A true example of charity can be seen in the following. A man sees that a person is in bad need of tires on his car. In asking about this, the man says that he will buy two tires next month and two more the following month because that is all he can afford to do. A few days later the first man asks if he will follow him somewhere to drop off his car. Instead he has four tires put on the poorer man's car and does not take "No!" for an answer.
Of course some will think they are being charitable by offering help, knowing that people will refuse it. This makes them feel good about doing nothing.
Justice First and then Peace
Peace is the absence of conflict but this must be the absence of interior mental conflict as well. But although we may pretend to be a peace with some unjust person, we are not as long as the injustice persists. Peace without justice can be found in communist China, Cuba, Iran and even in jail. With enough force, peace can be made, but not justice. Justice is giving everyone what belongs to him as we are all equal in the eyes of God. Everyone has the same rights of opportunity that you have. Everyone has a right to his reputation and his good name. When we talk about people and damage their reputations without cause, we have no love.
Justice requires that we repair that reputation the same as justice requires we pay back money owed or stolen. We should demand that payment even to our own reputation, because if we do not the person slandering us will pay the debt the hard way in the after life. We can forgive debts but if we do not demand they be paid back, God will. So if we love in the eternal way, we should demand payment if it can be done. If not, we forgive the debt face to face and in our heart.
Justice First and then Unity
European counties are trying to unite into one governing body. The Christian Churches are trying to unite into one unified body. Asia is trying to unite in a common body. Soon North and South America will work towards a unified power. But the truth is that divisions are getting greater and greater because everyone wants everyone else to give in, but no one wants to give up anything. Families are divided and even though they feel the pain of division, they will not admit to any wrong doing. Europe will not unite until they seek justice for everyone, not just the rich and powerful. Christian Churches are not going to unite until they seek justice for everyone and not just the Patriarchs and bishops. Families are not going to unite until they admit their own faults and talk about the problems. Problems do not go away by not talking about them.
It humanity wants to be unified it must face its sins, talk them out, admit them and then be forgiven. Pretending that nothing ever happened will not bring about unity. Mankind was meant to be a unified civilization and all divisions and boundaries, no matter what they are were caused by sin. We cannot pretend it did not happen. We must admit to our faults, ask forgiveness, pay debts and seek justice. Christ said at the Sermon on the Mount: "Hunger and thirst after justice". When we have justice for all, we have love for all. Putting out head in the sand will not get it.