The Place of Justice, Mercy and Faithfulness in the Social Order

The treasonous, treacherous Occupant is busy walking back statements he made on July 16, 2018 that cast dispersion on the US Intelligence community. He also makes lots of people question his loyalty to the US.  All the while congress and his cabinet can’t call this despot to accountability, because their loyalty to party is greater than their loyalty to country.  They continue their ruthless agenda of aligning with the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and the needy.

This behavior is evil.  This is not a word I use easily or readily. The Miriam Webster dictionary defines evil as “morally reprehensible, dishonorable, depraved, corrupt, malevolent, immoral, vicious and malicious.”  When the sum total of this administration’s actions is taken into account all the descriptions of evil are met.

The Occupant has set a low bar for human interaction.  It allows the hate that is always lurking under the surface to rise unchecked.  There is an increase in hate groups, hate speech and a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment. The abandonment of socially acceptable speech permits individuals to judge groups of people, make fun of them and dispose of all the filters for compassionate social discourse.

These behaviors are invited from below the surface where they languish when a commitment to decency and compassion is the norm.  The Occupant normalizes behavior that should never be normalized. Our decency is fast disappearing.

In Matthew 23:13-26 Jesus articulated three qualities from his Jewish heritage that are necessary for a sustainable society:

  • Justice is the conviction that everyone is entitled, by their presence in the community, to a viable and secure life. Injustice permits the strong to confiscate what the vulnerable have.
  • Mercy is the capacity for active empathy and solidarity with those in need. A lack of such solidarity permits one to treat vulnerable neighbors according to one’s own desire (or prejudice of fear).
  • Faithfulness is the practice of reliable companionship with neighbors. Faithlessness is to live as if one had no such obligation (summarized from Gift and Task by Walter Brueggemann, page 235).

We who claim the name and the path of Jesus do well to consider his imperatives for the social order.  It is ours to challenge the rising tide of bigotry and hatred.  It is ours to look at our own privilege and choose the side of the dispossessed, downtrodden and poor.  It is ours to speak because remaining silent is to always side with the oppressor.

Martin Niemoller, a German Lutheran pastor, penned these words in 1946:

When the Nazis came for the communists,

I remained silent;

I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,

I remained silent;

I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,

I did not speak out;

I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,

I remained silent;

I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,

There was no one left to speak out.

Following Jesus means joining Jesus in the move toward loving one another in words, in actions of compassion, justice, mercy and faithfulness. A thousand Mexican children are counting on us. Refugees from around the world are counting on us. Our country and our world are depending on us to not be silent.

 

 

2 thoughts on “The Place of Justice, Mercy and Faithfulness in the Social Order”

  1. Thank you Pat for reminding us what justice, mercy, and faithfulness mean and how they function in support of a sustainable society. These are words are are oft sprinkled around to create an appearance of sincerity or compassion where there many not be any. God grant us fresh breezes of truth and love to clear the smokescreens away.

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