Why Justice Is Elusive

photo credit: jerekeys via photopin cc
original photo credit: jerekeys via photopin cc

George Zimmerman: found by a jury to be not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin. Was justice served? Personally, I don’t see how the jury could have convicted Zimmerman of murder; there simply wasn’t enough hard evidence. That’s probably why the authorities seemed to be so reluctant to file charges. At the same time, I think that Zimmerman should have been guilty of something. His reckless actions started the chain of events that led to Martin’s death.

Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence, however, is not the primary point of this post. Nor is Martin’s tragic death—as important as that should be. What I find especially troubling about this case is that opinions on Zimmerman’s culpability appear to fall along fairly well defined lines. According to what I’ve seen, most African Americans and political liberals were outraged by the verdict. The majority of white conservatives seem to feel that justice has been served. Why is that?

photo credit: Dan4th via photopin cc
photo credit: Dan4th via photopin cc

As a society, we have allowed race and political leanings to taint our perspectives of reality. This isn’t the first time we’ve done this, and it certainly won’t be the last, but it is a bad sign for our nation. Any culture that allows emotion, rather than truth, to color its sense of justice will be ripe with division. I understand that it is entirely natural that we would want to side with those who share our perspectives, ethnicity, or skin color, but we create a recipe for injustice when we allow these things to form our view of reality.

The real problem isn’t race or political ideology; we are plagued by a culture full of people pursuing their own personal and corporate agendas. Personal bias is the archenemy of justice. Those who use their personal desires in an attempt to create their own reality will always bear some sort of bias as they navigate the sticky issues of life on earth.

Jesus Christ stands as the supreme champion of justice in the annals of human history. Why? He never allowed His personal desires or affinities to influence His perspective of reality.

“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 5:30 (NASB)

This passage both encourages and challenges me! I am encouraged by the fact that, regardless of what happens in the courts of human affairs, impartial justice will be served sometime in eternity. All who have been mistreated, abused, or unjustly accused will one day see the perpetrators of such acts called into account. This doesn’t mean that we should passively accept injustice in our world, but that our hearts can be free of hatred and bitterness as we strive for what is right.

As always, I am challenged by the example of Christ. I want to see as He sees and have the courage to speak truth. It’s counter cultural, I know. Not many among us appreciate truth—even those who claim to value and seek an accurate perspective of reality. Still, a passionate love for truth, regardless of the cost, lays the foundation for genuine hope, not to mention a good night’s sleep.

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2 thoughts on “Why Justice Is Elusive

  1. One of the difficulties is that we are biologically programmed to stereotype – neuroscience has shown that as a part of survival, we categorize through stereotyping. When we have a preconceived notion about anything – but especially about race, gender, ethnicity, etc., studies have shown that we can see 100s of examples of people who defy the stereotype, and we are very likely to forget them. Meanwhile, if we see one person that fulfills that stereotype, then our brain is likely to remember them. It is a product of early civilization – we had to stereotype things like lions to survive – not every lion was going to kill you, but it was good to act like they all would. In modern society though, it exacerbates our differences. — Because of this, it is only through extreme thoughtfulness and Christ’s love that we can get beyond stereotypes of any kind.

    1. Jeff, I think your comments are both insightful and accurate. I can’t speak about the origins of stereotyping but the problem is only becoming worse in our age of technology. We have so much more surface exposure to the world and so much more information to process that lumping individuals into predefined groups is the easy way to go. What bothers me further is that leaders in both the conservative and liberal camps intentionally propagate stereotypes in their efforts to motivate people to give money, or to take some other sort of action. Perhaps the stereotype issue is worthy of another post or two. Thanks for commenting!

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