This is the second post in a series of seven examining the Bible’s concept of justice, and the action expected of Christ-followers by our King. These principles are essential to the ministry and the faithfulness of 2nd Mile Ministries to remain on mission.
Written by Marc Nettleton, Interim Executive Director
In the seventh grade, I got my first pair of glasses. Nearsightedness was a gradual deception, it set in so slowly that I didn’t even recognize it in process. Before I went to the optometrist, I didn’t know I was missing out on anything. Yes, the words on the board were hard to read sometimes, but perhaps that was just the limitations of the human eye.
But then I put on those glasses. Suddenly, from the back of the room all the words were legible. Overhead projector sheets were clear as day. But the biggest revelation was facial expressions. This wasn’t just blurry words becoming clear, this was a new, unknown world of communication being opened up to me (and a plausible explanation for my middle school lack of social skills). I had become accustomed to the reality that if someone was a certain distance away, one simply couldn’t make out their features. I could hear the tone in their voice, but I couldn’t see a furrowed brow or a twisted smile. But suddenly, non-verbal cues were discernible. I had been given access to a previously opaque reality.
After being given this tool, glasses, I had a cure for my literal blind spots. And with my cure in hand, I could interpret and act in the world in a brand new way.
In our first post, we examined God’s character and our discipleship. We discovered that God holds justice and righteousness in high priority. They are essential to his character. We discussed that disciples, or apprentices, must be continually becoming more like our God and having our hearts reflect that which is close to his heart. Or to put it another way as my pastor recently said, “A disciple doesn’t just know what the Teacher knows, a disciple must be becoming what the Teacher is.” So, therefore, we must be becoming people who care deeply about justice and righteousness in the earth.
So, let’s say we have read that and we are convinced! (and maybe a bit convicted too) We are ready to change our ways and orient our lives towards justice and righteousness in all that we do! How are we to go about doing that?
Well, there’s an important first step. We need to be able to see injustice. If we cannot see it, we cannot pray against it. If we cannot see it, we cannot stand in opposition. If we can’t see it, we certainly can’t take active steps to undo the impacts of injustice.
So, let’s get to work. Quick, in your head (or on paper) do this activity with me.
First, think about the world. Note in your head or jot down some examples of injustice that come to mind from overseas and across the world.
Next, think about the United States. Note or jot down some examples of injustice that are specific to the USA.
Finally, think about your neighborhood or career field, your immediate surroundings, what injustices plague that area?
If you will allow me to make a conjecture, my guess is that your first list was quite a bit longer than your last list. And while it might be true that certain types of injustices are more common “over there” than they are in your community, I can promise you this, your community is not untouched by injustice. The Fall took place everywhere and it has impacted every nation, culture, school, college, field of business, and neighborhood.
Injustice exists everywhere.
But instead rather, many times (especially those of us who have been privileged in one way or another) must have our eyes opened to injustice. We need eyes to see and ears to hear. Because you don’t know what you don’t know. And you can’t change, what you can’t see.
But, if we are to pursue Jesus and all of his character and all that he has for us, we must take up this challenge and begin to train our eyes to see injustice so that we can be those who stand up for positive, Biblical justice in every area where we have influence. Furthermore, often times the most pervasive and damaging injustices are the ones that hide themselves and are invisible to us even though they are in operation every day all around us. So, over the next several posts we will be examining how to train our eyes by developing categories for these hidden injustices that all too often escape our view.
Each of us needs to be given the proper tools. Otherwise, we’ll miss out on facial expressions or worse yet, we will be oblivious to what our God desperately cares about and is calling us stand up for boldly.