Rights in Conflict: When Injustice Produces Justice

I know this title can sound misleading and even like clickbait. I promise it is not. What it is, is one of the principles that governed the greatest restorative justice project ever done. And it also serves as principles to apply to rights in conflict within individuals in a kingdom.

In current political conversations we see rights in conflict between a woman and an unborn human and we also see it in the movement of retribution in social justice between classes and race. If we understand the Kingdom and justice of God as presented, we might be able to answer these difficult questions as Christians.

Tolerating Injustice

As I read John Rawls, I remember reading how the suffering of a few was not warranted just because there would be a great benefit from many. That in its essence is injustice. I could accept this statement as true without much resistance. What made things perplexing was this following quote:

"An injustice is only tolerable only when it is necessary to avoid an even greater injustice".

This is an interesting statement. There are injustices that can't be corrected because they help us avoid a greater injustice. In this way there is a kind of justice that an injustice can provide. And this took me straight to the center of acts of justice; the cross.

The Cross and Justice

Jesus lived a perfect life on the earth. In His own words He fulfilled the law. God had put Himself under the rule of law and deserved to be treated in a certain way. If we obeyed all the laws and regulations of a state or country, we wouldn't expect the penalty of infraction. Moreover, we wouldn't expect the greatest penalty that is reserved for the greatest of infractions.

Jesus didn't just receive a penalty for an infraction He did not commit. Jesus received the penalty of death, the greatest penalty that is reserved for the worst of people. Yet He wasn't. That contrast leaves us with the greatest injustice of all time! The most innocent was being treated unjustly as the worst. Why?

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24

Injustice Created Justice

The justice of God's Kingdom is a restorative justice. And when we realize that an injustice is only tolerable when it helps us avoid a greater injustice, we hit the great bedrock of the situation.

Jesus was allowed to be treated unjustly because if He didn't, a greater injustice would occur Man would forever lose his connection and original purpose with God. This is the apex of God's justice and how the Kingdom operates to restore relationship. For this reason, the Bible says we have been given that ministry of reconciliation.


What does this mean to questions on abortion or where there are rights in conflict with one another? We should always tolerate an injustice when a greater injustice is imminent. It means that when there is no other option, we should also be able to bear the cross of injustice for the sake of the greatest justice- keeping relationship and community.

There are those who have a right to justice because they have been wronged. God had it when man offended Him and broke the rules. Jesus had it as He was on the cross and they made fun of Him. He could have literally got down and saved Himself as the people mocked Him to do, but He didn't. For that reason, we should

Look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2