Thursday, July 19, 2012

Injustice: tasting it or living with it

Marcia, yesterday I read your latest blog post on Strengthen the Things that Remain ( Then I noticed that I'd missed the one on "Justice" which you posted in June. It stirred some strong feelings in me. (If you're reading this, I recommend reading that post as well.)

I've lived in the parts of the world where Injustice runs things with an Iron Hand. You have lived in a pretty secure "bubble of justice" as you described it.  You were very observant about one thing: if you live in that bubble and confront injustice, you feel rage. If it is part of the warp and woof of your life, you become resigned.

I commend you for seeing the damaging effects of long-term injustice.  You said:
"Injustice can destroy your soul. Or bless you with empathy and hope."

Injustice is soul-destroying, searing, desperately painful. Its victims die or shrug; there seem to be no alternatives. You mentioned being blessed with empathy and hope. Key word there is empathy. 

Empathy is understanding and sharing the feelings of another. Sympathy is sorrow for their misfortunes. Empathy is going to get you off your seat and help you do something. Empathy is for people who are on the outside of the injustice looking in, but feeling it along with the victims. Even empathy can make you burn out sometimes.

The "good people" of the world have faced this awful thing, injustice, and have come up with an odd crusade for "social justice" which makes me wonder what about being social makes it any more just. Justice is something every Christian should pray for, crave, and insist upon wherever he or she is. Crying for justice from God is one of David's favorite things to do in the psalms.

I love this St Francis prayer (whether it's his or not, he should get the credit, he lived it):

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. Amen.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. Amen.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection,starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy. Amen.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.
And the Blessing of God, who Creates, Redeems and Sanctifies, be upon you and all you love an pray for this day, and forever more. Amen.

I especially love, "bless you with enough foolishness to believe you can make a difference." That is probably our best defense and offense against injustice meted out to others. As for injustice we receive ourselves, the best advice I have heard is:
"Never look for justice, but never cease to give it."--Oswald Chambers


The desire for justice is present in every toddler I've known. "He has one, and I want one, too." Self-centeredness is its close companion, so the reverse sentiment is rare. More likely, the feeling is, "I have one, and I'm going to hold onto it."

Maturity and empathy can move us toward the desire for justice for others. Ignorance, as you know, often results in throwing money at people who have none. This is what some call "social justice" and it ends with an attitude of entitlement.

Believers are tiptoeing through this quest for justice. If it were only so easy as treating one another with respect.

I would like to hear more about your concept of justice, social and otherwise, since you have spent so much of your adult life in the third world.

How much can we accomplish in this fallen world?

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you  and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. --2 Thessalonians 1:6,7


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