September 1, 2019-
“O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.”- Baha’u’llah
I spent much of the day today, pondering the operational definition of justice. Baha’u’llah is writing about Divine Justice, which takes into consideration all sides of an issue, instantaneously.
That, of course, is something that takes a lot longer for us mortals. We have different ideas, based on the particular doctrine or interpretation of Scripture, as to what Divine Justice even means. How much more does the meaning of everyday justice find wildly different viewpoints, largely dependent on one’s life experiences and view of the world.
What triggered this was my having been followed, closely, by another motorist this afternoon, whilst running some errands downtown. Traffic was unusually heavy for a Sunday, and Driver A was on the verge of road rage, over the spillover effect of traffic bunched up, through two lights. I, being immediately in front of him, caught a long horn blast, two seconds after the light had turned green and whilst I was waiting to turn left. Prescott’s left turn arrows are few and far between, so I had to wait for oncoming traffic to pass, which infuriated him even more. He followed me to my next left turn, then leaned on the horn again, when I was waiting for yet another care to pass straight ahead. Then, he decided to go straight himself, and the air was peaceful once more.
Which was the justice, and for whom? I grew up with my Dad, some uncles and my driving instructor telling me that there is seldom a black and white, when it comes to traffic. The seemingly brash and rude driver gets his/her attitude from somewhere-ranging from an inbred sense of entitlement (actually quite rare, even today) to a very real amount of pressure-from a spouse, from an employer or client, from a participant in our appointment-driven society or from society-at-large. The people going straight were going by a centuries-old, universally-accepted tradition of traffic flow, as was yours truly. The belligerent Driver A was just pushing an envelope, which the rest of us could not fathom.
Justice, then, can’t immediately be understood by one and all. It takes what my mother instilled in us: The pondering of other people’s circumstances and, to a point, willingness to make adjustments to our own behaviour. I thought of this point as well, after a local resident was beaten by a man who demanded she give him cash or phone cards. The case is winding its way through the justice system, and has made its way to social media. As these two elements of modern life are frequently at odds, you can imagine the status of the investigation. Everything, from women’s rights to fair treatment of the homeless, factors into such a case.
As we move forward, perhaps seeing justice for what it really is, the end product of love, would be a good place to start.