Day 11

Injustice and Justice

from the Mourning and Dancing reading plan

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.

Post Comments (48)

48 thoughts on "Injustice and Justice"

  1. Rachel Drummond says:

    I find this challenging. How do we reconcile this instruction to care for others when we are also called to respect our governments and leadership? Would love some insight on this.

  2. Melissa Mcronney says:


  3. Mari V says:

    This has resonated with me. I need not to focus just on myself. As a now single parent for the last two plus years . I am guilty of focusing solely on the needs of my kids. A few weeks ago my daughter and I were at a local coffee shop that’s owned by one of our local churches. A homeless person was in the shop and asked me if I could buy him a cup of coffee. I hesitated. I knew how much I had in my bank account. As it is I normally just buy my daughter her coffee and we share. Needless to say, I bought him one. Do you know what… I had enough left in my bank account

  4. Allie Parker says:

    This lesson reminds me of another passage.

    “He has shown you, o mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to seek justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

  5. Maura says:

    So much in this message and the comments from all of you my sisters. Thankful this day that we have a God who multiplies the loaves and fishes. Who can take the little that we give and bless so many with it. Step out, whether with a word, an action, passing on the blessings we have been given and trust that God continues to feed the multitude and can take the gifts we give and empower us with His word to bless the individual, the few, or the many He brings our way just by being willing to speak, to listen, to give that which we have been given.

    Tols, please forgive me. I can not begin to understand the discrimination you have seen and endured. Though it breaks my heart, I know I can not comprehend the depth of your pain. Will be praying Jesus love and healing amidst all of the suffering. His justice and peace.

  6. Avalon Negrette says:

    When I’m not in a good head space, I can think all kinds of untrue things about God and the way He runs things. I can think that I have more wisdom at times. “Why are all these terrible things happening in the world? Doesn’t God see that these things and these people need to be dealt with??” My faith often grows weary at the sight of the homeless (especially during the winter) or when I hear about yet another mass shooting, or any of the awful events that happen in our daily lives around the globe. It really is so overwhelming. How on earth do I fight for the environment, the homeless, women’s rights, starving men, women, and children in third world countries, and so much more! It’s a burden that I don’t believe we’re called to bear alone. I’ve learned that I can really only do so much and that’s okay because my Father in Heaven is doing so much more that me! He’s in control. He hasn’t forgotten his people. He never will.

  7. Linda J says:

    As I celebrate Thanksgiving with my family today may I remember my responsibility to care for those in need. What a perfect message on this particular morning.

  8. Kristen says:

    We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We can do this individually, as a family or at a workplace, or as a church. This is the perfect time to do something. Our work has had a collection to help others by having a dress down day or food drives. There are families that donate in the name of someone at the holidays to organizations like Food for the Poor or World Vision. These organizations have opportunities right now to donate money so they can buy chickens for a family to raise, school supplies, food for an individual or family, provide clean water and many more choices. Our church has multiple campuses. One goes to downtown Pittsburgh to feed the homeless on Sunday nights and tell them about Jesus and provide food. They pick the homeless up for church and have helped some get housing. One has a program for the kids in a city outside of Pittsburgh to provide food and teach about Jesus. There is a medical clinic out of one building with real doctors and nurses for those without health insurance. We have our own food banks to help. They give the opportunity to participate in Operation Christmas Child which is a ministry that sends shoe boxes to children around the world filled with necessities and a toy. They also share about the Savior. We had an Angel Tree last week where you could pick a child that has a parent in prison. You buy the gift and a team from church will deliver the gift from the parent and share the Good News. We need to tell people about Jesus, but we have to show people Jesus too! We can all do something!

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