“Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honour the emperor”. (1 Peter 2:17)
I have four children. They are adults now with children of their own. When they were younger my wife and I always tried to make sure that we treated them equally and justly. We tried to provide then with the same opportunities, blessings, and love so that no one could be seen as the favourite. My children are not identical despite growing up in the same environment. They each have their own unique set of skills, traits and personalities. Sometimes, as parents, we were challenged by their uniqueness, but that did not stop us from loving them and wanting what was good.
When I had been posted to Kingston to do schooling, my wife and three children (one had yet to be born) accompanied me. This was a very important time in my career, but I wanted to ensure I had a balanced school and home life. One night, after the children were in bed, my wife and I were watching TV and heard a loud thump. We ran upstairs to see what had happened and found our son lying on the floor convulsing. He slept on the top bunk of the bed and we had assumed he had fallen out. We took him to the hospital, and he was admitted for observation and care. Although I was in the midst of school exams, I spent every moment I could with him because, at the time of his suffering, his life mattered to me. I did not love his sisters any less but during his time in the hospital, I admit my focus was more on him. The lives of all my children mattered but at that time I knew I had to focus on him. I wanted to ensure, to the best of my abilities, that his suffering was addressed.
We are witnessing an emotional reaction to an injustice faced by a group in our society who are often looked at because of the colour of their skin and not their value to our society. They are suffering and feeling that their lives and circumstance don’t matter to the rest of us. On the walls of a large courthouse are the words: “The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government.” That is, for the government to serve its people properly, it must dispense its laws, and make its judgements with wisdom and fairness.
I’m not sure many would disagree with that because there’s an inherent desire in everyone to be treated fairly. However, in light of the events around us, we must admit that our society as a whole is not ensuring all are treated justly or equally. We must not remain blind to the truth that when one part of our community is treated differently, unjustly, we are all impacted.
Many of us have never experienced life like those in this suffering community but it does not mean we cannot join together to seek justice. We must ensure we do not compete with them for attention but stand together as best as we can.
“God is not a God of the emotions but the God of truth.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).
The truth is He wants to reconcile His creation to Him and has invited followers of Christ to be part of His mission to bring the Good news to all. Part of that mission is to seek justice for all who suffer especially when it is blatantly obvious. We may feel uncomfortable marching in pursuit of justice, but that does not mean we can’t seek what is right. What really matters is, at a minimum, we must do a self-examination and ask; “am I loving God by loving others”.