Keys to Becoming More Just
OUR Creator wants us to be happy, to enjoy inner peace, and to contribute to the happiness of others. Hence, he asks us “to exercise justice and to love kindness.” (Micah 6:8) How can we do so? We need to cultivate qualities that will dispel the traits that foster injustice. Consider how the Bible can help us do that.
OVERCOMING GREED. The most powerful weapon against greed is love—not mere sentiment or romantic attraction—but self-sacrificing love for others. Such “love is . . . kind,” and it “does not look for its own interests,” says 1 Corinthians 13:4, 5. Moreover, this love does not limit itself to family and friends. “If you love those loving you, what reward do you have?” asked Jesus, adding that even the ungodly love those who love them.—Matthew 5:46.
OVERCOMING PREJUDICE. Acts 10:34, 35 reads: “God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” God does not provide salvation on the basis of race, social status, or gender. In his eyes, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female.” (Galatians 3:28) When we imitate God, we overcome prejudice. Consider the example of Dorothy, who lived in the United States.
Dorothy became so disturbed by racial prejudice that she wanted to take part in an armed insurrection to relieve the suffering of oppressed black people. During that time, however, she attended a Christian meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses and was deeply impressed by the warm welcome she received from both blacks and whites. Before long, she came to realize that only God can change people on the inside. When she experienced the genuine love of white Witnesses—people she said that she “would have killed without hesitation to further the cause of a revolution”—her heart “was warmed” to the point that she cried uncontrollably.
OVERCOMING ANTISOCIAL ATTITUDES. Before becoming Christians, some of Jesus’ early followers had been drunkards, extortioners, revelers, and revilers. Yet, with God’s help they replaced those negative traits with love, kindness, and goodness. (1 Corinthians 5:11; 6:9-11; Galatians 5:22) Likewise today, millions of people have made wholesome changes in their lives by turning to God. An example is Firuddin, who lives in Azerbaijan.
Firuddin was raised in an orphanage, where he often fought other boys. As an adult, he became an instructor in hand-to-hand combat. “I was rude, cruel, and violent,” he says. “If during mealtime my wife, Zahra, forgot anything—even a toothpick—I would beat her. And if anyone looked at her as we walked together, I would do the same to him!”
One day, Firuddin’s heart was touched when he learned that Jesus asked God to forgive the soldiers who impaled him. (Luke 23:34) ‘Only the Son of God could act that way,’ he thought. Thereafter, he began to search for God. When Jehovah’s Witnesses offered to help him, he readily accepted a free Bible study. Before long, his personality began to improve. Indeed, he became so kind to Zahra that she too began to study the Bible. Today both are peacefully united in true worship.
Of course, changes that we may personally make will not revolutionize the entire world! What, though, if God purposes to bring about a new, truly just world? After all, he surely has the power! And consider this: At 2 Timothy 3:1-4, quoted at the start of the preceding article, we saw that the Bible clearly foretold what people in general would be like during our time. That prediction has been fulfilled to the letter—as have many other Bible prophecies. We are not casting good sense aside, therefore, when we take seriously God’s promise to end all injustice. Indeed, God will achieve that purpose. How?
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HEIDE’S QUEST FOR JUSTICE
“I was upset with racism, wars, poverty, and other injustices, and I was looking for a solution,” recalls Heide, who lives in the United States. “I tried to work with the civil rights movement and eventually joined a political party, but these seemed unable to effect meaningful change.
“I felt that a more radical change was needed, and the hippie movement seemed promising. Yet, that too proved disappointing. I observed that many hippies were more interested in sex, drugs, and rock and roll than in changing the system—a realization that threw me into a deep depression. Then I met one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She showed me from the Bible the changes that God purposes. For example, she pointed to such scriptures as Revelation 21:3, 4, which says that God will wipe the tears from all faces and eliminate mourning, outcry, and pain—often the results of injustice. ‘Could those promises really be true?’ I asked myself.
“My doubts cleared up when I read what the Scriptures say about God’s power and love and when I experienced the love among Jehovah’s Witnesses. I now eagerly await the fulfillment of God’s promises.”
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Prejudice is conquered when we imitate God’s love
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Firuddin with his wife, Zahra