Charles Dickens said: "Charity begins at home and justice begins next door."
Most people would assume that charity and justice are things that should be done outside of the home, focusing on the needs of others who are less fortunate than those in their inner circle. Dickens statement, however, challenges us to see each relationship in our life as an opportunity to bless others and show the love of our Creator through our actions. If we cannot expressly show love to those we interact with the most, how are we going to extend love to strangers? If I cannot show kindness and tolerance in judging those I work or live with, I am losing a valuable witness to those I spend the most time with.
By taking the time to extend grace, mercy, forgiveness, and understanding to those I am closest to, I am building up my heart muscles to do the same for strangers I meet on the street. I need to train myself to be attentive to the needs of others, to consider the consequences my actions will have on them, to seek the best for them. If I can train myself to extend mercy to those I see on a daily basis, I will then have the capacity to seek justice in the lives of others. When I have practiced being attentive to the other's needs, it will naturally extend to my neighbors and community members. Justice, then, will not be a particular crusade but a lifestyle of seeking the best for my society.