Injustice and Justice
Open Your Bible
Deuteronomy 16:19, Psalm 94:1-23, Hebrews 13:3, Isaiah 1:17, Psalm 68:4-10, Matthew 5:13-16, Proverbs 29:7
BY Guest Writer
Some moments have a ripple effect. As a thrown stone breaks the glassy surface of water causing rings to swell and radiate to the shore, some moments break through us and the ripples radiate for days, months, even a lifetime.
Years ago, a distinguished professor who’d been visiting our church agreed to come lead our small group for the evening. I don’t remember his initial topic that night, but as we lingered in conversation, the discussion soon turned to his travels, specifically his time in India. Tears filled his eyes as he recounted the crushing poverty and mind-boggling crowds of men and women and their children, begging in the streets all around him. His voice trembled as he described the enormity of human suffering he’d witnessed there. The heartbreaking stories he shared left mental images of miles of poverty and millions of suffering souls.
After the meeting, I pulled the professor aside and confessed how utterly overwhelmed I was after hearing his stories. I shared how I’d been strangely burdened by the concept of suffering since I was a young girl. “How can this be?” I asked him. “Where is God in the midst of all this? And how on earth can we even begin to enter in and respond to such enormous injustice and suffering?”
The mild-mannered, soft-spoken professor snapped his head toward me, his eyes piercing and focused. “No,” he declared. “Being overwhelmed by suffering is no excuse for doing nothing.” He explained that there will always be more need than we can meet. But that does not mean we aren’t called to enter in and do the things we are able to do right now. His words landed hard. They felt like a rebuke because they were. To be paralyzed by the harsh reality of suffering, to be stuck inwardly condemning global injustice while doing nothing to alleviate it, is not an option God gives us.
God doesn’t sugarcoat the pain and brokenness of the world. He calls out evil, suffering, and injustice (Proverbs 6:16–19). He shines a light on those who are lonely, abandoned, oppressed, and poor (James 1:27). He knows the desperation, the dire circumstances, and the darkness we encounter, both in global proportions and in our most intimate and personal daily struggles (Psalm 139:12). Our God knows we need rescue. And Christ scandalously declares,
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
– Luke 4:18–19
Because He has solidarity with us, we can offer solidarity to the hurting.
Because He defends us, we can defend others.
Because He is our ultimate Judge, we can fight for justice.
Because He is our hope, we can hold on to hope for ourselves and extend it to others.
Christ entered in to rescue us. And the ripple effect of that rescue goes on and on. Thanks be to God alone.
Patti Sauls lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband Scott and daughters, Abby and Ellie, where they serve alongside the people of Christ Presbyterian Church. Prior to living in Nashville, the Sauls planted churches in Kansas City and Saint Louis and served at New York City’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church. A trained speech therapist, Patti also enjoys serving behind the scenes, hiking with friends, and reading good books.