(Originally published in "Love and Justice for All" column of Unity Magazine Sept/Oct 2021 issue)
From my earliest days in Unity, the 12 Powers is still my favorite and most meaningful teaching. The idea that I am Divine, that the fullness of God exists at the point of me, can sometimes be daunting for a variety of reasons. The 12 Powers gives me a framework and languaging to make my God-self more palatable, accessible, and engageable. While Faith, Strength, Wisdom, Love, Power, Imagination, Understanding, Will, Order, Zeal, Release, and Life make for a thorough list, I’ve often heard a case for Joy as the unofficial 13th Power. I find no fault with this. After all, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” [Nehemiah 8:10]. I want, however, to propose a more germane Divine attribute for such a time as this: Justice.
Too often, unfortunately, justice is conflated with punishment. Rallying cries for justice after the killings of unarmed black men by white police officers were spun as attacks against law enforcement, and twisted to instill fears of lawless anarchy if police reforms were enacted. Following the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict, Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison made it clear: “I would not call today’s verdict ‘justice’, however, because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step towards justice. And now the cause of justice is in your hands.” Justice is more than restoration. It speaks to equitableness. It speaks to having the conditions leading up to, and supporting, discriminatory practices not existing in the first place.
Justice is grounded in Love. It’s not just in our hands, it is also in our hearts. From co-founder Charles Fillmore: “When justice and love meet at the heart center, there [is] balance, poise, and righteousness.” Righteousness is “a state of harmony established in consciousness through the right use of God-given attributes.” (Revealing Word). Everything starts at the spiritual/consciousness level, and Justice is both a Divine quality and a Divine mandate. The Psalmist sang to and of God, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.” [Psalm 89:14]. Proverbs reminds us that, “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” [Proverbs 21:3] Jesus invites us to not neglect “the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced…” [Matthew 23:23]
How are we practicing? We say that God is Love in action. Justice is also Love in action. When we love those who are disenfranchised because of the color of their skin or because of who they love or because of who they really are, we are Justice. And to be clear, loving them doesn’t just mean saying we believe them or see them or welcome them into our communities. Loving them is using the power and privilege we have to speak loudly on their behalf, and to help create equitable conditions so they may thrive as we do. It’s the challenging spiritual work of uprooting our own embedded biases and unconscious discriminations. It’s waking up to how we have used spiritual bypassing to not face our own complicity through silence.
True Justice leads to Liberation, the removal of all that holds us back. Since we live from the inside out, human liberation cannot precede spiritual liberation. Removing the self-imposed roadblocks to the fullness of our Divinity is our Liberation. Let us liberate others too. Let us Be Justice.