Tag Archives: justice

Persistence Paid Off

Growing up, my parents let me play video games – Atari, Intellivision, Sega, etc. Some days we played for hours on end – Space Invaders, Pitfall, Donkey Kong, etc. But, I actually wasn’t all that dedicated. I had friends who knew every secret move and could beat Mike Tyson every time at Punch Out. It took serious commitment.

I don’t know that any of that translated into life skills. But, as it turns out, sometimes we are rewarded for persistency. At least one teenager in Valley Stream, NY sees it that way. He spent weeks going to Best Buy every day to play the Wii U, so much so, that the employees decided to do something nice for him. They all chipped in and bought him a new Wii U game system!

Now, I know. The skeptic in us says, “what a waste of time” or “they just gave it to him to get rid of him!” But whatever the reason, the fact remains; he has a game system today because he showed up every day.

In the Bible, Jesus tells of a widow who wanted to get justice so she went to court. Unfortunately, the judge was unrighteous, and he didn’t care anything about giving her justice. Day after day, night after night, she kept after him.

Eventually, she got justice. He didn’t fear God or keep his commandments. But he said, “I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out” (Luke 18:5). Persistency, as we say, paid off.

Jesus reminds us that, if an unrighteous judge will give a widow what she wants to keep her quiet, how much more will the true and righteous God give “justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night” (7). Yet, when hard times come, when things seem difficult, how long are we willing to pray and seek God? One prayer? One day?

God desires that we seek Him. In fact, we should “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). And we continually receive His blessings, as we show up…persistently.

“Zero Remorse” Interception: Is Chivalry Dead?

saints-bengals-game-ball“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone” (John 8:7).

Interceptions are just part of football. And usually fans cheer when their side gets the ball. But no one was cheering for Tony Williams last Sunday when he intercepted the wrong pass!

The pass in question was intended for Christa Barrett. She is a Bengals fan and she ran down to the end-zone to celebrate as Jermaine Gresham, tight end for the Bengals, scored a touchdown. Gresham saw Christa and tried to toss the ball to her. Williams, a Saints fan, “intercepted” the pass and got flagged for ‘pass interference’ by the fans and social media.

Tony isn’t a bad guy. He is a Veteran, a 70 year-old pensioner, and a season ticket holder for decades. He loves his wife, his daughter, and his 8 year-old grandson. But, in sports, the player-fan gift is sacred, almost untouchable. And if that gift is to a woman or a child…well, forget-about-it…there are rules!

But where do those rules come from? If this life is all that ever will be, what would cause us to be horrified at a man knocking a woman out of the way to intercept a ball? Why not get what you can, while you can?

Because like it or not, our “rules” are influenced by the Bible’s teaching regarding justice. And the Bible teaches that God hates injustice (Isaiah 59:15). And justice is always being threatened. Nathan rebuked King David for the horrible injustice of taking a man’s wife and killing him to cover up adultery. Jesus taught that men should get their justice right before they pick up stones to kill an alleged adulteress. Jesus defended the innocence of little children and their access to the Kingdom.

So I suppose, some thought that they were defending justice when they defended chivalry. And maybe they had the right heart, but the wrong execution.

Interceptions may be part of football, but what happened off the field degraded into a shameful activity. Some judged Williams to be a monster. Then the yelling started. Then social media lit up with death threats and racial slurs. Chivalry was an excuse to curse Williams, but it is clear that kindness went out the window!

We are still just as sinful as the days of Cain & Abel. And when we see something we don’t like, our reaction is often just as violent. Christa ended up getting a ball from the Saints and one from the Bengals, so I guess Chivalry isn’t dead. But what about Williams’ grandson who was afraid to go to school the next day? What about racism? What about hatred?

The truth is, we aren’t evolving in our morality. And until we learn to obey God’s ways and follow Jesus’ example, we never will. Micah reminded us to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God. And remember, sometimes a football is just a football!

If I Had a Hammer

 

seegerLast week in China, Xu Zhiyong was sentenced to 4 years in prison for “disturbing the peace.” His crime was “organizing a grass-roots New Citizens Movement, which sought to give voice to public discontent over official corruption and social injustice” (NY TIMES, 1-26-14). In his closing statement at trial, on January 22, 2014, Zhiyong spoke of the core values of the movement: “freedom, justice and love.”

It is hard to believe, but it wasn’t that long ago that our own country struggled to find the line between freedom of speech and public disorder /disintegration of societal rules. For many baby-boomers, one figure stands out as a spokesman for the same ideals of which Zhiyong spoke. Sometimes in the shadows, other times at the forefront, and quite often writing or singing the soundtrack, Pete Seeger invited audiences to sing along to the theme of Justice, Love, and Freedom.

By now, you have probably heard of the passing of Pete Seeger at age 94. He will be remembered for songs such as, “We Shall Overcome,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and “Big Rock Candy Mountain.” But Seeger’s, “If I Had A Hammer” probably encapsulates his message the best.

The closing verses promise to hammer, ring, and sing Justice, Freedom, and Love between my brothers and my sisters and all over this land.

Justice, Freedom, and Love are desirable qualities. But they did not originate with Seeger. Songs like Seeger’s, “Turn, Turn, Turn,” come straight from the pages of scripture. So do the very concepts of Justice, Freedom, and Love. We would not know justice, freedom, or love if not for God’s great wisdom, grace, and mercy.

The prophet Amos said, “Seek good and not evil, that you may live; …Hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the gate” (Amos 5:14-15)! May we continue to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with [our] God (Micah 6:8). May we continue to pray that the justice, freedom, and love of God will continue to make progress in China, in America, and in the hearts of all people everywhere.