Make justice your aim. —Isaiah 1:17 (NAB)
I like this translation of Isaiah’s verse better than the translation of the Bible I usually read. “Make justice your aim” is something I can do and am willing to do. Another translation, “Do justice,” feels discouraging because no matter how hard I try, it isn’t always possible in our very complex global situation in 2022. Because I can’t feed my family solely from the food I grow at home or buy organically at the farmer’s market, some of the food we eat will inevitably be the fruit of unjust farming practices that exploit farmworkers or poison the land. So although I can’t “do justice” 100% of the time in this realm, I can aim for it for sure. Likewise, I can’t make all of my family’s clothes, and I can’t grow the cotton for the fabric. Inevitably some of the clothes we wear are produced in sweatshops half a world away where the women and children workers are not treated justly. However, I can aim for more justice in this area by buying second-hand clothes or from fair trade sources. I can choose not to buy new clothes just for the sake of fashion so that I’m not creating more demand for cheaply manufactured items.
I don’t think it’s a cop-out to “make justice my aim” because there are so many areas in which we as individuals don’t have the power and influence to bring about true justice. I can’t bring about justice in every realm, but I can make justice my aim in my everyday decisions.
For Reflection: How do you spend your time, money, energy, skills, or education aiming for justice? Is there something you can do this week to make justice your aim in a new area of your life?
To Pray: God, help me not be discouraged about the immensity of the injustice in the world today, and instead to be inspired to make justice my aim in my everyday choices.