Act Justly, Love Mercy
"Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow."
I have wrestled with this blog post. I had actually written a totally different post but felt so strongly that God was stirring my heart to speak up in this area that I just couldn’t stay silent.
Those who know me would know that speaking is not something I struggle with. I am naturally outspoken, I tend to say what I think, and I’m not usually a huge fan of silence (I tend to want to fill it). However, there are topics and areas where it’s hard to speak up, to know what to say and how to say it. That’s the place I (and I imagine many others) find myself currently. This is not comfortable for me to write as I don’t really know what to say, but I pray God will speak through these words
In the wake of the killing of George Floyd and all that it represents, I have been heartbroken and challenged hearing the many personal, lived experiences of dear friends of mine that have experienced racism in many forms throughout their lives. I have become painfully aware of my own ignorance and privilege. I knew racism existed and I knew it existed here in the UK, but I must admit I was fairly blind to just how entrenched it is and the daily impact it is having on those around me.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have taken time to really examine myself; my own attitudes, ingrained biases, and assumptions, and I have not always been comfortable with what I’ve found. The jokes I have laughed at or left unchallenged. The assumptions and comments I have made. The TV shows I’ve watched and music I’ve listened to without stopping to question some of the messages I’ve received through them. The times I could have said something but didn’t because I didn’t feel it was my place to, or I didn’t feel comfortable.
We’re not called to be comfortable.
We are called to love. To seek justice. To be light in the darkness.
Time and time again throughout the Bible we are called to defend the poor, the orphaned, and the widows (Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 10:18; Psalm 82:3-4; Proverbs 3:19; Isaiah 58:10; Luke 4:18; Luke 12:33; Galatians 2:10; 1 Timothy 5:3; James 2:26). Does this mean that God is saying that other people don’t matter? That those who have living parents, or are wealthy, or who are married matter less? Of course not. What it does mean is God recognises that although He created us all equally (Galatians 3:28), the world does not always see or treat us that way. God highlighted those who are persecuted and looked down upon in society and called for His people to take a stand against injustice and to stand on their behalf.
This means to act like the Samaritan, the example in the parable that Jesus set for us (Luke 10:25-37). A man who stepped out to help someone from a completely different race and culture, who was in need. He stepped over the boundaries of their differences and cultural discord and put himself out to stand alongside ‘his neighbour’. He did not stay silent, avert his eyes, and continue on with his day like the other religious leaders in the story. He acted. He spoke up. He changed the narrative.
We are called to do the same. To love others as we love ourselves. To actively love. To lay down our comfort for the sake of others. To speak up when we see injustice. To step out of our comfort zones and love even when it costs us, especially when it costs us.
So, as a first step I felt it was right for me to write this post to challenge myself, and hopefully you reading this too, to think about what we can practically do to help change this narrative, to seek justice, and to show love in action.