Honor or Justice?
I used to appreciate the balanced scales of justice. They made me feel safe and hopeful that our country pursued the best interest of its citizens. I had faith in the process of the judicial system and in judges to impart justice for our country. Unfortunately, my first experience in a courtroom shattered my dream as I realized there was something dreadfully wrong within the heart of our justice system. I couldn’t clarify why my heart was so heavy until I heard Kristi McLelland’s description of Middle Eastern justice compared to our Western justice. (See my previous blog https://www.coachinghope4u.com/post/today?fbclid=IwAR2at_ylHb1eNLyGXCFHRqjpMiFIiz38myPSdQoryQrlU9BrReY8ydIAIJY
for more details on Kristi!)
Her explanation of Christ’s justice versus the courtroom I sat in gave me words to describe my experience. Our courts seek to make inequalities, equal, but Christ’s justice seeks to bring honor to the shamed. He reaches down to us, asks us to take His hand and pulls us upward, to HIM. Our Western justice system wants everyone to equally feel shame or equally feel honor.
So what do I think that really means? Christ shared His awesomeness to one of the most shamed woman in His culture- a woman who had been married to 5 husbands and who was now living with another man (John 4). Christ didn’t care. He gave her a significant moment in history. He revealed Himself as the Messiah to her at a well in Samaria. And He told her He knew her shameful truth. He talked to her with love and acceptance. He wanted to bring her UP. He didn’t say he wanted to level the playing field and make her and her lover feel equally guilty. He told her He was there for her despite her choices. He told her He was her Living Water. Her value was priceless and he wanted to share His water with her. He wanted her to be shame free.
He said the priceless words she had been waiting to hear all her life. “I who speak to you am HE.” (John 4:26, NKJV). Can you feel the goose-bumps on her arms as she embraced this concept? She was so excited by his message, she forgot her water jug at the well when she ran back to her city.
Do you think she remembered any part of that sprint? I can hear her voice babbling, “He’s the MESSIAH! He’s here! And He spoke to ME! He’s here! He knows all about me! It’s the MESSIAH!” Can you feel the adrenalin rushing through her legs hurrying her to tell someone her stunning news? I can feel the crushing sobs coming from her throat as she embraced her joy and tried to sprint at the same time!
When she reached her town, she told men (notice the scripture states it was “men” who in that culture viewed her as unequal and unworthy) and they BELIEVED her. Her honor was restored when Christ removed her shame.
TAKE HEART DAUGHTER.
Now, let’s fast-forward 2000 years. After 2 days of a divorce trial with my husband, our judge stated he was going to ask us some questions. He warned that they might be hard questions but he assured us he would give us both equal times for the questioning. I had hope. I wanted to believe this judge understood my aguish and shame. I hoped this judge would be HONORABLE (because we called him an honorable judge).
Here is where it gets tricky- our culture intermingles the term honor and justice. They do NOT carry the same definition. When we hear the “honorable judge so-and-so”, we believe and hope he will bring justice. Honor means “high respect”. Justice is the quality of being just, impartial, or fair. I had to honor (or respect) the judge while he gave me justice or balanced the scales. What you give one parent, you must give the other parent. But, with silent dismay, I listened to the Honorable Judge chastise me for 15 minutes and give an equal amount of fussing time to my husband.
I felt shame as I walked out of the courtroom. I felt defeated. I felt sick. There was no honor. There was justice... I guess. The scales were balanced.
Take heart daughter.
I hung my head as I walked out of the courtroom. Later that night, as I crawled defeated into bed, I felt Him brush the hair from my face, look at me intensely, and say, “Take heart daughter.” And at that moment, Jesus’ JUSTICE pulled me up, out of my shame, and into His honor. He restored my honor because I am worthy of Him.
We have now noted two times Jesus has spoken directly to women who were desperate and devastated. He gave them hope.
Matthew 9:22, Jesus told the bleeding woman He healed to “Take Heart Daughter”.
John 4:26, Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “I who speak to you am He”.
I still don’t have answers for our pains or torments. I don’t know why they happen. But I know Jesus sees you. It is not His desire for us to be shamed.
If you know women who are in a battle or if you are a fighter, please take heart. God knows you.
For more information on Kristi’s teachings, go to: www.newlensbiblicalstudies.com