Saturday, June 6, 2020

When We See Injustice

Social media is a very angry place right now. Even among Christians.

And I’m not talking about the righteous anger over the murder of George Floyd, and the injustices of systemic racism, or racial profiling. I’m talking about how ready people are to condemn, mock, ridicule, lash out at, and pick apart anything that differs from how they feel a situation should be viewed and responded to. It’s been like that this week, it’s been like that all through the pandemic, and in many other preceding current events. As a result, I’m wary of putting more words out there, since somebody somewhere will be offended and think I should have said something different or said nothing at all. All I can do is ask anyone who happens to be reading to take this blog post at face value; to not read between the lines of what I did or didn’t say, or isolate one sentence and pounce on it. I write this only in the hope that it might be helpful to someone, so feel free to take or leave it.

Here goes.

We live in a broken world that is full of injustice: systemic racisim, sex trafficking, refugees displaced by political fighting, corruption resulting in abuse in orphanages, and that’s not even scratching the surface. It’s real. It’s tragic. It results in the unimaginable suffering of people made in the image of God. It’s an affront to all that God says is good. But here’s the thing- we simply don’t have the capacity to feel the weight of all injustice everywhere all the time. God didn’t make us that way. “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.... A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 NLT) God doesn’t have us all on the same timeline.

Right now, we have been made uniquely aware of one specific area of injustice, and given the opportunity to respond in some way. We should all be willing to see injustice for what it is, to have the humility to listen well, to have our perspectives challenged and to repent as we see where our actions and attitudes have been wrong. We should be bothered, to say the very least. However, we are not all called to respond in the exact same way. Right now, God is calling some to step up and act to combat this injustic in specific ways. For others, their call to action may lie elsewhere. Some might be in a season of life in which they’re just trying to keep their head above the water and aren’t able to do much else. Some of us wear our heart on our sleeve, while others feel deeply but don’t express it as well. Ultimately, our aim shouldn’t be to satisfy people in the way we respond. That would be impossible anyway, given the vast array of often conflicting opinions on that point. We are responsible to seek God and ask Him for guidance in what He would have us do. We are called to reflect Christ and to be His hands and feet, but that won’t look exactly the same for each person.

For those who are genuinely grieved by what is happening, but are wrestling with how you ought to be responding, let me encourage you to look to God, rather than the myriad of voices on social media, as your Guide. Perfect love and perfect justice are found in Him. He has good works specifically prepared for each of us (Ephesians 2:10). Come to Him, asking, “What do you want me to do?” Listen and learn, seek the wisdom of those He has placed in your life, obey as He leads, and then rest in Him. Someone out there will still likely feel you should be doing something else, but He is the one we are called to please.

For those who are feeling deeply and passionately moved, by all means, speak out, take action, and challenge those around you to see beyond their own perspective. But resist the urge to assume you know how another individual ought to be responding, or to condemn them for not exhibiting the same level of passion you feel. However just our cause, however right our passion, at the end of the day, we aren’t God. Only He knows the heart of another, and only He knows His intention for each of His followers at any given time. He refers to His people as a Body for a reason- we don’t all have the same role to play.

For all of us who are believers, may whatever we do and say be with the ultimate aim of seeing those who are made in the image of God be brought from spiritual darkness to the life that is found only in Christ. Let our deepest prayer be, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

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