Updated: Jun 7, 2020
Injustice(noun) want of justice and equity; violation of the rights of another or others; iniquity; wrong; unfairness; imposition
Injustice(noun) an unjust act or deed; a sin; a crime; a wrong (definition.net)
It is an interesting conversation whenever you talk about someone's rights. People definitely have their opinion on the matter. Most of the time, whether inadvertantly or not, the rhetoric centers around the person, the individual, and the typical concern is whether they feel their rights have been viloated or not. I mean, that is why a conversation on rights usually begins like this:
He did this to me...
She said that to me...
They want to stop me from...
Can you believe they won't allow me to...
They've said I can't do...., but that's not going to stop me from....
If that is how things are being run, I can promise I won't be back, etc...
The LORD works righteousness and justice for the oppressed. Psalm 103:6
We throw the phrase, "I have my rights!" around like its intention was for selfish purpose and personal gain. We also can get worked up fairly quickly when we perceived a slight against our own personal rights. The viability of mask doning and whether houses of worship and businesses should be open or shut, are just a few of the latest ways you can hear the oppressed cry out. And perhaps we should. Perhaps we very well should get "up in arms" about our rights because after all they are our's.
Qualities (such as adherence to duty or obedience to lawful authority) that together constitute the ideal of moral propriety or merit moral approval
Something to which one has a just claim: such as the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled voting rights - his right to decide
Something that one may properly claim as due (Merriam-Webster.com)
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. (excerpt from the Declaration of Independence)
We do have rights, and according to the Declaration of Independence, they were endowed by our Creator specifically, but not exclusively, for Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
But in all of our demanding we seem to have forgotten that our rights are only as secure as the next persons. When one of us is denied our rights - chiefly Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness - we all lose, for when we give ground to some; we will eventually lose ground for all.
All you need to do is look through the history books to see this pattern repeated over and over again.
The Revolutionary War
The Civil War
WWI and WWII
Civil Rights Movement
All of these serve as examples of historical inevitability. When compromise was made in securing the rights for all, an avalanche occurred that rippled thoughout the world. And the aftershocks are still being grappled with today.
I think of WWII and how long it took our American forces to join in against the Nazi Regime. We didn't see the need to be involved until Pearl Harbor forced our hand. How many lives could have been spared if the sleeping giant would have awoken sooner?
Amos 5:24 But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!
It is the language in the Declaration that shakes me. It declares that these rights are instituted by the Governments with the consent of the governed. And that when (that) government becomes destructive it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. In other words, to change it; to be the force to bring about the change. And this is done to protect the safety, well-being and happiness of those being governed.
That is the beauty of our nation, of our country! We have to right to speak out against injustice and inequality when it encroaches on those endowed rights of Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness. What I fear is that we only exercise this right when we feel the threat in a personal way; when it awakens us from the comfortable slumber of our everyday living. Until then, we sleep on blind to those trapped in a long train of abuses and usurpations who rights are being trampled upon every day. God forgive us.
The interesting thing about rights is that when you view them from a different angle, it becomes clear.
To do justice to : redress the injuries of
AVENGE vows to right the injustice done to his family
To adjust or restore to the proper state or condition (Merriam-Webster.com)
Our rights are certainly something that have been granted to us by our Creator and hard-won by our nation, but they cannot be used in the noun tense of our English language only. We must reach out and exercise the action of the verb tense as well. We must speak out for justice and against injustice. We must stand up for the oppressed in order to restore Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness to their proper state or condition for every human. This is the only way to preserve true freedom for when we protect one, we protect all; for we are inextricably one nation, one race, one people - under God.
Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Jesus took injustice seriously. He called the oppressors out among his people, his nation, in almost every story you read about in the Gospels. You would think since the Jewish people were living under the Roman regime that particular government would be his focus. It was not. Jesus' main target were the privileged, the esteemed, the leaders - most of them religious in nature - the ones who could do and say something but chose to passively ignore or worse contribute to the injustice. Just a few examples of Jesus standing up this way are: The woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-47), The tax collector (Luke 18:9-14), and an entire chapter devoted entirely to the religious leaders (Matthew 23).
But the one that stands out to me the most concerns the dishonesty of the money changers who dealt in trade within the Sanctuary and how Jesus responds to them.
Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them,“‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers'. Matthew 21:12-13
This "table pushing" is so crucial because this injustice was occurring to the poorest among the people; the ones with little to no influence. These were people who were coming to offer their sacrifice at the Temple, a requirement by Jewish Law, and the money changers took advantage of them by charging exorbitant prices for the animals they were selling. The travelers who were trying to follow the law and worship at the temple would get caught between obedience and financial strain. The ones who could have and should have cried the loudest voice against the injustice - the religious leaders - sat by and passively let it occur. We don't know why. They could have been getting a cut of the profits, or they could have just not cared. It did not affect their everyday work or habits so why would they bother with something that was probably trival in their eyes. I mean, the people knew they were coming to offer the sacrifice, right? Why couldn't they have better prepared for the journey?
Regardless of their reasons, nothing was set to rights until Jesus entered the scene. He busted up the money ring by literally turning over the tables. I bet that was a sight to behold.
Injustice is rearing her ugly head again in our nation. Good grief, it's been going on for so long now we shouldn't be surprised by it anymore.
"Racism Is Not Getting Worse, It's Getting Filmed"
We are once again posed in the history books at a precipice with a monumental decision before us. What will we do in the face of this current injustice?
If what has been seen playing before us in all outlets of media is any indication, it will be more about an unseen virus and the restrictions it has placed on personal liberties. It will be about mask wearing and conspiracy theories and personal injuries. There will be shock over looting and fire-setting and violence in the streets as if this is not expected of those who have been oppressed for too long. As if the same justice we are dealt is offered to all men equally. It is not. We are equal to God, but we do not live in equality. We will rage against any voice that will listen to what has been done to our own person and the injustice we are facing. And while we shout, our fellow man dies in the street.
My husband runs every day - all over the city we live in. My boys do too. I can't tell you the times people have called or texted letting me know they saw one of them running through their neighborhood or down one of our main roads. I never once think about whether or not they will be safe.
I look at houses under construction all the time. It is one of my favorite past times. There is a new subdivision going up right by mine that I check out frequently. I never once worry about someone getting the wrong impression about what I am doing.
My "men" all wear hoodies. They use the hood when they need/want to. They carry backpacks with never a thought of how it makes them appear. They head out at sundown to fish or sun-up - whatever suits their fancy - without a care in the world. Why? Because they are white, middle-class humans. The thought that they might be in any danger has never and will never cross their minds.
"We are equal under God, but we do not live in equality." Shelly Chandler
Until we recognize the truth behind that statement - we are equal, but we do not live in equality - we can never rest in our own unencumbered rights. To do so is a slap to our fellow man, our Declaration of Independence and to our God, the Creator of us all.
Proverbs 17:15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.
We have the precedent of our forefathers, and the warning from our Sovereign God to stamp out tyranny, to right justice, and to allow everyone to live for Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. When we ignore the cries, when we offer platitudes instead of compassion or stay silent in the face of the oppression, we are justifying the wicked and God calls us an ABOMINATION.
No more! Rise up! Say their names. Make your post. Send the text. Have the conversation. Cry out against the injustice and for heaven's sake throw some tables over because this is not going to end until everyone has the same rights that we are shouting to protect.
Push over the tables.