Lady Justice is meant to be an inspiring figure in every society. If you have ever seen a statue of Lady Justice, there are a couple of things you cannot miss.
She has sword in one hand and the scales of justice in the another. She stands upon the book of the law and has the serpent under her foot. Lady Justice is supposed to be the arbitrator of the law and is always above evil.
However, without question, the most recognizable feature of a Lady Justice statue is the blindfold. (There are very few versions of this stature around the world in which Lady Justice isn’t blindfolded.)
Have you ever wondered why Lady Justice is blindfolded? What is the significance of this piece of cloth? Obviously, this was a major point in the casting of the first statute. The artist wanted this blindfold to be unmistakable.
I want to spend a few moments describing why Lady Justice is blindfolded and what happens to justice when the blindfold is removed.
Balancing the Scales of Justice
Lady Justice holds in her strong right arm a set of scales. These scales were used for many centuries around the world as a symbol of fair practices. In business, the scales represented an honest business deal.
When purchasing a measure of grain at the market, the farmer would place a weight on one side of the scale and grain on the other. The seller knew that he or she was getting a fair deal when the grain on one end of the scale equaled the exact weight on the other side of the scale. Two balanced scales represented a fair business deal.
The scales of justice don’t just refer to business practices. This is a visual representation of how a government is supposed to treat its citizens. Any time one citizen receives better treatment than another, for any reason, the scales of justice in government become imbalanced. If the scales of justice are out of balance in your community, I challenge you to speak the truth even if your voice shakes in the process.
This is why Lady Justice statues are placed outside of major government agencies and court buildings all over the world. Lady Justice’s scales announce that all matters inside her building will be fair and honest.
Recently, I asked a group of people from around the world about justice in their countries. People from many different countries on several continents all said that there was a problem with justice in their countries.
From 3rd world to 1st world countries, all shared stories of corruption and injustice in their nations. Unfortunately, I learned from this global audience that there are no perfectly balanced scales of justice anywhere in the world. Some nations’ scales are more balanced than others, but no scales are perfectly balanced.
Bringing the Sword of Justice
Lady Justice holds the scales in her right hand and the sword in her left. When the scales of justice are out of balance in any society, next comes the sword. When men and women are no longer capable of dealing honestly and fairly with each other, inevitably they will turn to force and violence to get their way.
It’s interesting to me that Lady Justice herself would carry the sword. You would expect to see the sword in the hands of a warrior rather than an arbitrator of justice. However, the sword in this statue depiction vividly demonstrates what happens to a society when a people forsake honesty and equality.
The sword always comes next. In the United States, Lady Justice’s most severe blow from the sword is capital punishment. No matter your views on the death penalty, here is an article I wrote on the view from the grand jury box of a murder trial.
Now, let’s talk about the blindfold.
Up to this point, I’ve described the scales and the sword of Lady Justice, but I haven’t spoken about the blindfold. This blindfold represents equality! Equality in race, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic background. Without equality, the scales of justice become perverted. Without equality, the sword is wet with the blood of the innocent. Only when Lady Justice is blindfolded can the scales be equal, and the sword satiated.
This shines a spotlight on the problems of injustice and inequality all over the world. Humans are really good at judging what we see, but not very good at looking beyond the surface. We need a just judge that can measure beyond what is seen and can weigh the human heart.
Only Jesus Can be Perfectly Just
Only the perfect judge can render perfect verdicts. The scales of justice will always be out of balance if Lady Justice removes her blindfold. Our eyes deceive us. Lady Justice has to remain blindfolded in order for human justice to be fair. However, what we really need is a just judge that can look past the surface and weigh the intent of our hearts.
This is plainly why only Jesus is qualified to serve as the perfect judge. Only he can measure the desires and intent of our hearts. Jesus is the only just judge that can hold the scales of justice perfectly without wearing a blindfold.
A human attempt at justice will always fall short of perfectly balanced scales, because we lack the ability to be completely impartial. This is the backdrop for a statement that I made last week: Justice – Jesus = Junk! If you want to know more about what happens when Lady Justice removes her blindfold check out this message: https://www.2citieschurch.com/sermons/justice-jesus-junk