Grace and Peace to you.
Under even the greatest oppression, a select few people have what they need. But this is not true justice. True justice is a whole society that is just; therefore there is no justice until there is justice for all. For this reason the struggle for justice is never-ending; there will always be setbacks, but never a reason to give up.
Even under the worst tyrant, there may be a powerful few who are free to act as they choose. But this is not true freedom. True freedom is a society in which everyone is free; therefore there is no freedom until all are free. For this reason the struggle for freedom must always set people free; freedom can never be achieved by coercion.
Injustice is always hidden, disguised as the way things ought to be, protected by social habits and assumptions that we never question or confront. Seeking justice always requires that we dismantle existing social structures. Those who seek justice will always meet resistance, but it is a struggle of truth against fear, and truth is stronger.
The freedom and justice God intends for us (part of what Jesus called the Kingdom of God) is not a far-off fantasy; it is a gift implanted within us at our very creation. It arises as a gift when we treat one another with reverence. It can’t be enforced or manipulated or brought about by fear, violence or threat. It can only be set free in us. It can only be achieved by nonviolence.
Reverence overpowers coercion. It may take great time and sacrifice, but it will not fail. Even in offering its opponents the freedom to reject it, nonviolence has succeeded in setting all parties free. Even God does not threaten, coerce or manipulate us, but offers us grace and reverence. The cross is God’s nonviolence.
Our reverence toward others, including our enemies, regardless of the cost to us, even the cost of our lives, unleashes the infinite, world-changing, life-giving power of God’s grace in us. Just as an exploding bomb releases itself into the area around it with destructive force, a loving person releases herself into the world with creative power. This is the mystery of resurrection.
Martin Luther King, Jr. lived the resurrection life. Give thanks today for all those who have given of themselves for the sake of freedom and justice. And pray that you may have the courage, faith and compassion to stand among them, to join in the sacred struggle for “justice and liberty for all.”
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes