“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968)
Every now and then God calls us to stand up and be counted—to fight an injustice against others. We can use ourselves as ‘the reason’ we are standing up, so as to shield those being harassed, but, we should know, once the stand’s been taken, the ball’s in play, and there is no backing off.
Things get worse before they get better.
If we capitulate, we send a clear message that we are afraid and we make matters even worse for those who are vulnerable. So, once that ball’s in play, despite ridicule, off-handed remarks, and isolation tactics from the nemesis, we must pray (and have others pray for us) to be steadfast and mature—dealing in ways that mean God can speak into these situations at the proper time.
Engaging the Nemesis
In many situations, true wisdom in cases of challenging injustice isn’t deployed unless we face the perpetrator in ways beyond defence.
Though we may have ‘taken offence’ (for others) we are to be beyond being offended by this person who wants, even more now, to offend us.
Engaging the nemesis is about separating the issue from the person. We are fighting their unjust stance, understanding they know and feel what only they can know and feel.
They abuse and neglect people, without conscience, because their consciences have perhaps been seared. This is not always all their fault. In fact, most of the time it’s because they were subjects of injustice within their formative years. If we blame anyone we blame their parents—but then we would need to target the injustices they were subjected to. Now we begin to see a series of generational rifts.
It’s not hard to construct a case for empathy when we see the culture of tyranny operant within a person’s social system; when they’ve been so virulently transgressed.
To reinforce perspective, that the cause we are fighting for is not a personal one, we need courage to engage the nemesis with dignity—retaining their dignity as well as ours. If we have neither the courage nor dignity to deal in such virtuous ways we should reconsider our approach—wisdom might dictate we delay our response.
When we can come from a position of universal respect we are ideally placed to fight injustices in the name of the Lord.
But, it remains, when the Lord calls us to stand up to injustice, best we do.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.