Justice and Trust

Posted November 9, 2008

   In a town where gambling was illegal, two judges were arrested for violating that ordinance. They each agreed to preside at the other’s trial. The first judge found his confrere guilty and gave him a fine of $100. Then they exchanged places as judge and defendant. The second judge also declared the other one guilty, but fined him $200, Of course, the defendant indignantly claimed that the decision was unfair, since they were equal partners in the violation. In explaining the apparent inequity, the second judge replied, “I decided on a heavier fine, since there’s too much of this illegal gambling going on in this town; this is the second case like this presented to this court today!”

   No one gets through this life without being victimized by injustices in one form or another, and “when they fall victim, they shall receive [only] a little help” (Dn 11:34), Not all injustices come from unjust judges like the one in Jesus’ parable of Luke 18; most come from commonplace sources. Arrows of injustice are aimed at us from, among others, bankers charging hidden fees; clerks refusing refunds; shoplifters that cause inflated prices; con men; prejudiced teachers who underscore students; bosses who promote favored employees; unscrupulous auto mechanics, plumbers, or appliance repairmen; pilfering maids; duplicitous salespersons; lawyers or doctors who gouge exorbitant fees from clients or patients; inheritance-usurping relatives; burglars; reputation-corroding neighborhood gossips; and cheating spouses who shatter a marriage,

   All of these, of course will have to give an exacting account of their actions to the God of justice, but that’s their problem, not ours. “[But he who] trusts in the Lord…through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved” (Ps 21:7, 14), Hence, our problem as victims of injustice is striving to keep ourselves continually immersed in that “steadfast love [that] surrounds those who trust in the LORD” (Ps 32:10),

   This means learning to depend on the Lord as David did when persecuted by Saul: “The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults” (Ps 28:7). Being persecuted brought David to the brink of utter desperation: “Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you; save your servant who trusts in you, You are my God” (Ps 86:2)

   From such a great expert in trusting we can learn that either our loving God will restore our rights or he will give us the strength to sustain the hardship resulting from the adversity, as he applies it to the glory of God and our welfare: “No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Ps 84:11).

Fr. John Hampsch, cmf – “Pathways of Trust”