Two of my neighbors, Eugene and Lorraine Williams, have lived a story we all need to hear. Back in 1958, they bought a house on Ridge Street, and the welcome from their white neighbors wasn't exactly warm, most of them moved away. Soon the Williams family also realized their third-grader Scheryl would be bussed to a black school across town, while the neighbor girl across the street would go to the white school nearby. Eugene and Lorraine wouldn't have it, and they (along with a few other parents) filed suit forcing the local schools to comply with the Supreme Court's decision on desegregation.

We might be tempted to reminisce on the Williams' story and bemoan it primarily as a political quandary or a social ill. Scripture refers to such acts, however, as unrighteousness, sin. God's Word has a lot to say about justice, and the word the Bible often translates for justice can also be translated as righteousness. So, in the Bible's terms, to do justice is simply to do what is right. To do injustice, then, is to do what is wrong. It's evil.

From the beginning, God intended to form a community of people living out God's just rule. First Adam and Eve, and then Noah and his family (Genesis 1:27, 6:9-10). When the time came to form Israel's society, God provided structures and regulations that would promote justice for the people. Overseeing these structures, God appointed judges and officials who would mediate disputes and ensure equity. God's instructions were clear: Call out leaders who would "judge the people fairly" throughout the land, holding powerbrokers at bay and caring for the weak or oppressed (Deuteronomy 16:18). God's vision for a just society is part of His response to a world marred by sin. His redemption touches the individual, but redemption also touches the unjust systems of oppression in our world. , Winn Collier