Updated: May 12
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 rights. People definitely have their opinion on the matter. Most of the time, whether inadvertently or not, the rhetoric centers around the individual’s concern on whether they feel their rights have been violated. 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 couldn’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 self-purpose and personal gain. We also can get worked up fairly quickly when we perceived a slight is made against our own individual rights. The viability of mask donning 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 ours.
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 our demands for personal freedom, we have forgotten that our rights are only as secure as the next person. 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 read through history books to see this pattern repeating.
The Revolutionary War
The Civil War
WWI and WWII
Civil Rights Movement
All of these serve as examples of historical inevitability. When compromises were made in securing the rights for all, an avalanche occurred that rippled throughout the world. And the aftershocks are still being grappled with today.
I think of WWII and the length of time it took our American forces to join 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 had 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 the government institutes these rights with the consent of the governed. And that when (that) government becomes destructive, it is the people's right to alter or 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 the right to speak out against injustice and inequality when it infringes 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 blind to those trapped in a long train of abuses and usurpations whose rights are trampled upon every day. God forgive us.
The interesting thing about our rights is that the purpose becomes clear when you view them from a different perspective.
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 has been granted to us by our Creator and hard-won by our nation but cannot be used as a noun in our English language only. We must reach out and exercise the action of the verb. We must speak out for justice and against injustice. We must stand up for the oppressed to restore Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness to their proper state or condition for every human. This is how true freedom is preserved 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 in the Gospels. Since the Jewish people lived under the Roman regime, you would think that particular government would be his focus. It was not. Jesus’s main target was the privileged, the esteemed, the religious leaders who could do or say something but chose to ignore or contribute to the injustice passively. Just a few examples of Jesus standing up in 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 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 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 trivial in their eyes. 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” Will Smith
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 playing out before us in all media outlets is any indication, it will be more about an unseen virus and its restrictions on personal liberties. It will be about mask-wearing, 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 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 person and the injustice we face. And while we shout, our fellow man dies in the street.
My husband runs every day - all over the city where we live. My boys do too. I can’t tell you how often people call or text, 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 they will be safe.
I look at houses under construction all the time. It is one of my favorite past times. A new subdivision is being built beside 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 never has 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 unencumbered rights. Doing so is a slap to our fellow man, our Declaration of Independence, and 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, right justice, and allow everyone to live for Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. When we ignore the cries, offer platitudes instead of compassion, or stay silent in the face of the oppression, we justify 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 throw some tables over for heaven’s sake, because this is not going to end until everyone has the same rights we are shouting to protect.
Push over the tables.