In James 1:19 it states: “My dear friends, You should be quick to listen and slow to speak or get angry.” I grew up lacking a good role model in this area. People around me were quick to get angry, no listening occurred, and unfortunately people spoke too quickly words that pierced my heart deeply. Wounded people who grew older around me grew up only to do the same to people they were not like, or inflicted their anger on those who struggled with things that were misunderstood. Diversity is the one thing that America has identified with over the years, sometimes with great rejection, then other times with a heart of compassion. I used to go into nursing homes, I did this for 35 years. My heart was with those who sensed that they had been forgotten by their loved ones, in some cases there were no loved ones left to hold their hand to tell them things were going to be alright. It was what I believed I was meant to do- to go, sing with them, many knew the old hymns, as if they were long lost love ones coming to call and kindled sweet memories that brightened their day. Many of these souls rededicated their lives to God, some just before they passed on into their eternal home. I never sang without asking each soul if they knew Jesus, as Lord and Savior. Most of them quickly, willingly gave their hearts to Him. I guess , as with anything the value that is placed on who you are is compromised a great deal as one simply struggles to live. Past presidents, past teachers, people who spent their entire lives working for the gospel, doctors, lawyers, poets, scholars , every walk of life are quite equal when life has come to a place where our daily needs to live outweigh the diversity issues, the differences of opinion, the differences of who we are. Those rare few who are sharp to the very end of course may continue to express at will- this and that about who they are. I just read C.S Lewis , “The Problem of Pain”. This quote was powerful and tied into this: ” The human spirit will not even begin to try to surrender self-will as long as all seems to be well with it. Now error and sin both have this property, that the deeper they are, the less their victim suspects their existence, they are masked evil. Pain is unmasked, unmistakable evil; every man knows that something is wrong when they are being hurt.” Another quote from The Problem of Pain”, “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’on the walls of his cell.” There is , in my opinion- a heart cry in every man to let go of all pain and surrender all the pain to a God whose love refuses to remember all the bad things of the past. His love accepts us as we are, full of pain, unable to carry that pain without His help, He alone sets us free from the pain of the past.
I want to begin today by using a quote from C.S.Lewis, then one from his friend J.R.R. Tolkien: C.S. Lewis: “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line- what was I comparing the universe with when I called it unjust?” J.R.R.Tolkien:” The birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus means that one day everything sad will come untrue.”
What is justice? As in the quote of C.S.Lewis, you need something fair and just to compare a thing too in order to make an accurate determination. The definition of justice says out of fairness to justice for both, or all. With due fairness, treatment, appreciation we may determine justice. Our background, or environment as we survive being reared, renders a great deal of information toward how you personally may define justice. Personal values, convictions, beliefs may also nurture a standard for each to base the word justice. As we have all witnessed with a world-wide pandemic things may change in the twinkling of an eye. What was once just , is no longer seen in the same light , in view of all the many other dynamics that we see unfold. In fairness , to keep myself safe, I wore a mask to try to be free of germs, or to minimize those germs. It was never necessary before , now it is. What is justice to a homeless person? That other homeless people respect their part of street they have found refuge on? Is it fair that they are homeless at all? Given a group of specific circumstances to their lives, there is a story that brought them to this point of safety and their own definition of justice.
Maybe that is an extreme example, but I believe that we are living in a privileged country. No, things may not be perfect, but our declared freedom and justice for all -gave us a right to speak our minds, in some countries people have had this freedom taken away long ago. God forbid this should ever happen here in America. I believe we need to embrace how very fortunate we are and my prayers are that our God will help us, because things are surely misrepresented, misunderstood, just broken. Psalms 65:5 “Our God , You save us, and Your fearsome deeds answer our prayers for justice.”Psalms 94:15 says,”Justice and fairness will go hand and hand and all who do right will follow along.”
C.S.Lewis said,” I have received no assurance that anything we can do will eradicate suffering. I think the best results are obtained by people who work quietly away at limited objectives, such as the abolition of slave trade, or prison reform, or factory acts, or T.B., not by those who think they can achieve universal justice or health or peace. I think the art of life consists of tackling each immediate evil as well as we can.” God’s word says, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared to the Glory that shall be revealed through us.(Romans 8:18) I lived in abuse for many, many years of my life. I know what it is to have your freedom taken from you, to have your voice silenced, to have your thoughts taken , your opinions twisted and misunderstood. Life is way too short and uncertain to waste time trying to change a construct that may change in a twinkling of an eye, by political agenda, by popular needs or demands.
Martin Luther King:” … The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”
I am trusting my God to see the end of this virus, and the end of this civil unrest.