Truth, Justice, and What?
Jeremiah 4:When I was a boy, I loved watching The Adventures of Superman on television. In glorious black and white, George Reeves starred as the Man of Steel whose superpowers saved lives and captured criminals. The opening of each episode included a voiceover that defined Superman’s mission. “Disguised as Clark Kent,” Superman “fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way.”
We find a similar trio of values in Jeremiah 4, though with “righteousness” in place of “the American way.” It appears as God was preparing to judge Judah by using the might of Babylon. Nevertheless, he continued to give his people an opportunity to repent. “O Israel . . . if you wanted to return to me, you could. You could throw away your detestable idols and stray away no more” (4:1). But the Lord knew that they had made promises before without backing them up in action. So the Lord asks his people not only to swear an oath by his name, but also to do so “with truth, justice, and righteousness.”
This passage reminds us that we are to bear witness to God not only in our words, but also in our deeds. We need both to speak and to live according to truth, justice, and righteousness. As people of truth, we are committed to seeking, speaking, and living by God’s revelation. As people of justice, we work to see that the systems and structures of our world treat all people fairly, especially those who are powerless and marginalized. As people of righteousness, we seek healthy relationships in every facet of life: in our families, in our workplaces, in our communities, in our churches.
In a day when people are more doubtful, even cynical, about religious professions and organizations, we must strive, by God’s grace, to back up our words with lives of truth, justice, and righteousness.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How does your life reflect truth, justice, and righteousness? How might these three virtues be expressed in your life today?PRAYER: O Lord, forgive me when I fail to live up to my words, whether I’m speaking to you or to others. All too often I say one thing and do another. How sorry I am.
Help me to be a person of truth, justice, and righteousness. May I speak and live the truth. May I seek justice wherever I have a chance. And may my relationships be right, honest, and loving.
As I live out my faith in this world, help me to live in such a way that people can see you in me.
To you be all the glory. Amen.