To the man who has no faith in God, faith in God cannot look like righteousness; neither can he know that it is the germ of life, creative of all other righteousness. It is not like some single separate act of righteousness; it is the action of the whole man, turning to good from evil—turning his back on all that is opposed to righteousness, and starting on a road on which he cannot stop, in which he must go on growing more and more righteous, discovering more and more what righteousness is, and more and more what is unrighteous in himself. In the one act of believing in God—that is, of giving himself to do what he tells him—he abjures evil, both what he knows and what he does not yet know in himself. A man may indeed have turned to obey God, and yet be capable of many an injustice to his neighbor which he has not yet discovered to be an injustice; but as he goes on obeying, he will go on discovering. Not only will he grow more and more determined to be just, but he will grow more and more sensitive to the idea of injustice—I do not mean in others, but in himself. A man who continues capable of a known injustice to his neighbor cannot be believed to have turned to God. At all events, a man cannot be near God, so as to be learning what is just toward God, and not be near his neighbor, so as to be learning what is unfair to him. If a man is to be blamed for not choosing righteousness, for not turning to the light, then the man who does choose and turn is to be justified in his deed, and declared to be righteous.
by James House
To supplement today's reading, a selection of George MacDonald quotes that relate to the topic of personal righteousness and justice:
"God made man, and woke in him the hunger for righteousness; the Lord came to enlarge and rouse this hunger. The first and lasting effect of his words must be to make the hungering and thirsting long yet more."
"It is a little strength that longs for more; it is infant righteousness that hungers after righteousness."
"It is a small thing to a man whether or not his neighbour be merciful to him; it is life or death to him whether or not he be merciful to his neighbour."
"If you care to see God, be pure."
"in spiritual things, the only way to give them to your neighbors is to hunger after them yourself. There each man is a mouth to the body of the whole creation. It can not be selfishness to hunger and thirst after righteousness, which righteousness is just your duty to your God and your neighbor. "
"All kindness is but justice. We owe it."
"Unhappy men were we, if God were the God of the perfected only, and not of the growing, the becoming!"