Virtue of the Week: Justice

LOVE IS TRANSFORMED INTO MERCY WHEN IT GOES BEYOND THE NARROW CONFINES OF JUSTICE.

THE FATHER, HIS SON, AND THEIR DONKEY

A father and his son were taking their donkey to a neighboring town to sell him. They had not gone far when they met with a group of women sitting near a well, talking and laughing. “Look there,” cried one of them, “did you ever see such an injustice, a father and his son trudging along the road on foot when they could be riding on their donkey?’

The old man hearing this, quickly made his son get up on the donkey, and continued to walk along merrily by his side. Presently they came up to a group of old men along the side of the road arguing. “There,” said one of them, “it proves what I was saying. Old people get no respect these days? Do you see that lazy boy riding while his old father has to walk? What an injustice! Get down off that donkey, you lazy boy and let the old man rest his weary limbs.” Upon hearing that, the old man made his son get down off the donkey, and got up himself.

With the father on the donkey and the boy trying to keep pace next to them, they had not proceeded far when they met a group of women and children: “Why, you lazy old man,” cried several tongues at once, “how can you ride upon the beast, while that poor little lad can hardly keep pace with you?’ The good-natured father immediately lifted up his son behind him, and they both rode on the donkey.

They had now almost reached the town when they came upon another man walking alone. “Pray, honest friend,” said the man, “does that donkey belong to you?’ “Yes,” replied the father. “I can hardly believe that,” said the man, “by the way you are unjustly making him carry the both of you. Why, you two fellows are better able to carry the donkey, than the donkey carry you.” “Anything to please you,” said the father; “we can but try.” So with his son, they tied the legs of the donkey together and with the help of a long pole started to carry the donkey on their shoulders.

Soon they came to a bridge near the entrance to the town. The entertaining sight of the father and his son carrying the donkey on a long pole brought the townspeople near the bridge to laugh aloud. They made so much noise that the donkey became scared and as he struggled to get loose from the pole he broke the ropes and tumbled off the bridge and into the river.

Upon this, the father, frustrated, embarrassed, and ashamed, made his way home again with his son, convinced that by trying to serve justice for everybody…… he had pleased nobody…… and lost his ass on the road to doing so.

Though the vicious can sometimes pour affliction upon the good, their power is transient and their punishment certain; and that innocence, though oppressed by injustice, shall, supported by patience, finally triumph over misfortune!Ann Radcliffe

Solomon’s Justice

Too often the phrase “splitting the baby” is equated with justice. And sometimes the arbiters of justice in our modern world (judges) believe that giving something to both parties involved in a dispute is the wise and fair thing to do, after all, that’s the Wisdom of Solomon, isn’t it? Well, let’s take a look at the story and see……

Two women having recently given birth came to King Solomon to settle an important dispute. One of the mothers had accidentally smothered her infant while sleeping, and silently replaced her dead child with the other. The mother of the living baby awoke, and realized the dead child was not hers.

They stood before the King, and argued a fairly typical “he said/she said” type situation that we see in courts today all the time. King Solomon asked for a sword, so he could cut the baby in half, and give part of the baby to each.

The real mother cried out not to cut the child in half, but to give it to the other woman. Solomon gave the baby to her, because he knew that would be the real mother’s reaction.

OK. So why is this used as an example of Solomon’s wisdom? Because he was really going to split the baby? Of course not.

The Wisdom of Solomon was in devising a plan that would reveal the truth.

A socialist once came to see Andrew Carnegie and soon was railing against the injustice of Carnegie having so much money. In his view, wealth was meant to be divided equally. Carnegie asked his secretary for an assessment of everything he owned and at the same time looked up the figures on world population. He did a little arithmetic on a pad and then said to his secretary. “Give this gentleman l6 cents. That’s his share of my wealth.”


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