EDITOR’S NOTE: “Justice looks like …” is a special series in the Voices column. Readers will have the opportunity to consider justice from numerous viewpoints. The series is based on each writer’s understanding of Scripture and relationship with Jesus Christ. Writers present their own views independent of any institution, unless otherwise noted in their bios.
You are encouraged to listen to each writer without prejudgment. Then, engage in conversation with others around you about what justice looks like to you.
When Barbara Jordan spoke to the U.S. House of Representatives in regard to the selection of a Supreme Court justice, she said when she read those famous words from the Declaration of Independence—“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”—she realized those words when written did not apply to her.
She did not qualify by sex, color or background.
Today, we are reminded justice is not available to all based on their race, color or origin.
All Christians should be asking why the Sermon on the Mount does not apply to all of our brothers and sisters.
What we profess vs. what we provide
Our society professes we believe in the rule of law. Due process is provided by law for all, yet we fail to deliver justice to the neediest in our communities. During summer 2020, we witnessed a young man murdered by vigilantes in the middle of the Bible belt and another choked to death at the knee of an officer, both without our beloved due process.
Justice looks far away for the families and loved ones of these victims.
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Economic justice is very difficult for the homeless, the immigrant, the felon and anyone different from the majority.
As a judge, I have tried to give justice with a good dose of mercy. I have that responsibility to everyone who comes into the courtroom.
The oath taken by every judge is to be impartial. In each case, I pray for wisdom, search the law and the lawyers’ briefs and try to do justice.
It is my hope we as a Christian community can have a view of what justice looks like in every phase of our lives.
Os Chrisman was a judge in family, probate and district courts in Dallas County for 13 years and a practicing attorney in Dallas for 25 years.
Click here to read the full “Justice looks like…” series.