Daily Thoughts from Exodus: Justice for All

“You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.

“If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.

“You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in his lawsuit. Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked. And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.

“You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 23:1-9, ESV)

The commandment against bearing false witness is expanded here. Spreading a false report is a way of violating this command and is not loving your neighbor. Joining with others to bear false witness with malicious intent is evil and a perversion of justice. Though usually it is the poor or weak person who is so exploited, you also cannot side with a poor person if he is in the wrong. You must bear true witness at all times.

Love your enemy. If he is in a dire situation you must help him. This is the positive aspect of the command against murder. As Jesus elaborates, if you have hatred in your heart you are guilty. Rather, seek the life in every respect of all people, including your enemies.

The poor deserve justice just like everyone else and those who pervert it will face God’s wrath. Bribes are wrong and subvert justice. The spread of bribery in some countries is a blight on the people and the nation.

The Law comes back to taking care to treat well the sojourner or foreigner. And the reason again is the sympathy Israel should have since they too were sojourners in Egypt. Love of our fellow man, of our neighbor, extends to every human being on God’s earth. Prejudice and racism are abhorent to Him and should be to us.

The World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index® is the world’s leading source for original, independent data on the rule of law.  The 2016 edition expands coverage to 113 countries and jurisdictions (from 102 in 2015), relying on more than 110,000 household and expert surveys to measure how the rule of law is experienced and perceived in practical, everyday situations by the general public worldwide. Performance is measured using 44 indicators across eight primary rule of law factors, each of which is scored and ranked globally and against regional and income peers: Constraints on Government Powers, Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice, and Criminal Justice.

The WJP Rule of Law Index is the most comprehensive index of its kind and the only to rely solely on primary data. The Index’s scores are built from the assessments of local residents (1,000 respondents per country) and local legal experts, ensuring that the findings reflect the conditions experienced by the population, including marginalized sectors of society.

WJP Rule of Law Index 2016 Regional Highlights:

  • When compared globally, countries in the Western Europe and North America continue to top the WJP Rule of Law Index, followed by countries in the East Asia & Pacific region. On average, the South Asia region obtained the lowest scores.

  • Western Europe and North America (defined as EU + EFTA + North America) accounts for 8 of the top 10 places in the rankings, with Denmark remaining the highest-ranked country in rule of law followed by Norway. Romania was the biggest mover in the region’s rankings (calculated by comparing countries against the original 2015 WJP Rule of Law Index country set, excluding 11 new countries added this year), rising 4 positions to 32nd out of 113 countries worldwide over 2015 rankings. Meanwhile, France and Hungary each lost 3 positions, to 21st and 49th respectively.

  • Sub-Saharan Africa’s top performer is South Africa, surpassing Ghana and Botswana in this year’s rankings and into 43rd place globally. Nigeria and Burkina Faso were the biggest movers among the 18 countries indexed in the region, climbing 11 and 10 spots respectively. In contrast, Botswana lost 6 positions while Kenya and Ethiopia each lost 5 places.

  • East Asia and Pacific is the second-ranked region in rule of law, behind Western Europe and North America. New Zealand and Singapore are the top performers in the 2016 rankings, ranking 8th and 9th respectively out of 113 countries worldwide. The biggest mover was Vietnam, rising 7 positions to 67th globally. The biggest decliner was the Philippines, dropping 9 positions to 70th. Malaysia and Republic of Korea also recorded significant declines.

  • Eastern Europe and Central Asia’s leader is Georgia, ranking 34th out of 113 countries worldwide, followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, FYR. Apart from Albania, Turkey, and Russia, most countries in this region remained largely unchanged since 2015. Albania dropped 9 positions to 72nd globally; Turkey fell 8 positions to 99th; and Russia moved down 6 positions to 92nd.

  • Latin America and the Caribbean’s top performer is Uruguay at 20th out of 113 countries, followed by Costa Rica and Chile. Argentina was the biggest mover, jumping 12 spots up to the 51st position worldwide. Meanwhile, El Salvador lost 8 positions, while Venezuela is the weakest performer among all the 113 indexed countries.

  • Middle East and North Africa’s top performer among the 7 countries indexed in this region is the United Arab Emirates, at 33rd overall. Iran climbed 13 positions to 86th, while Egypt dropped the same number of positions to 110th out of 113 countries worldwide.

  • South Asia’s top performer is Nepal, coming in at 63rd position globally. With the exception of Nepal, which dropped 5 positions in 2016, the performance of most countries in this region remained in line with last year.

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