To live justly is to give to others, beginning with God, what is their due.
The symbol of justice is a scale, to demonstrate that this virtue enables us to weigh what is right and fair, and to act accordingly. What does “weighing” mean? An excellent place to start is by understanding that every person is created in God’s image and likeness. Indeed, even when their actions or personal choices may not reflect this fundamental truth, we should still recognize their dignity.
Furthermore, it is essential to cultivate empathy, which is the ability to see the world or a situation from the other person’s perspective. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with how they are living, but that you can see their side of the situation and understand how they feel or think. Or to put it differently (quoting from Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird), to truly understand another person we need “to climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
Let us take a moment and gaze upon this image by Tissot entitled View From the Cross.
Seeing the crowd from Jesus’ perspective, ask yourself these questions:
- Who do you see?
- What do you see?
- What do you feel?
Call to mind the words of St. John, “God first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Jesus looks at every person with love and suffers this agony for one purpose: to bring you back into friendship with God and to restore what was lost by sin.
To live justly is to respond back to Him, by saying “I love You, too” with how you live and with how you treat those who are created in God’s image and likeness.