Justice for what???

“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death.
And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them?
Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment.
For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

(a buckeye butterfly rests on a noodle / Julie Cook / 2020)

Enjoying a bit of quiet reading and reflecting with some of my favorite folks out in
blogland this afternoon, I stopped by to see what gems of wisdom our friend IB had
to allow this fine Friday in June.

It is fine, isn’t it?

I don’t know…maybe it’s not.

It’s Juneteenth, so says my phone’s calendar and now, so says thousands
gathering in the streets of Atlanta, as well as across this nation, peacefully
marching and celebrating.

It seems we’ve all received a quick tutorial on the significance of Juneteenth.

And so we hope all things remain peaceful.
But we really must wait until the sun sets and then we shall see
if the peacefulness carries itself through the night.

Their voices now rise in a crescendo chant of “justice.

But what is this justice for which they cry?

Our friend IB mused over the very same notion.
What is this justice for which these crowds so long?

Perhaps it is what I too long for—.

IB was actually writing a post about having seen a movie that was a bit of a
soothing balm when this idea of ‘what is justice’ popped in.

I’ve not seen the movie, so I can’t say…but it moved IB and thus a post
sprang forth.

I honestly don’t know what makes me cry more, happy things or sad things?
There are lots of both in this movie and it’s hard to tell the difference sometimes.
I mean, it’s not good for your heart to be shattered, broken, for you to be wounded, right?
Except, if that’s how the love pours in, through all those cracks,
if that’s how the Lord moves into your life and brings healing,
well then, thank God for broken hearts.

Thank God when we are wounded, willing to feel the pain, rather than hardened.

It was a really validating movie too,
because I’m looking around at a world that often doesn’t make any sense and trying to talk
to people who are totally tone deaf.

I feel a bit like a broken record sometimes, always talking about meth, fentanyl,
and heroin addictions, in an area that is so pro-drugs, so pro-addiction!
People are out on the streets right now crying out for justice, but justice from what??
And what does this “justice” they crave even look like?

I spend half my life trying to forgive addicts whose behavior does nothing but steal,
kill, and destroy all that is good, and the other half of my time trying to forgive
those in leadership who have enabled and condoned the whole situation either through
their incompetence or their corruption. It’s really painful, it’s really frustrating,
but it’s not a bad thing at all, because it is all about learning to love others as
Jesus loves us

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown.
But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Both Matthew and Mark take note of the fact that this is the gospel,
that this truth, the reflective nature of grace, is so vitally important that,
“Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world,
what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

“Healing River” did a really good job of capturing the essence of that truth.
When we have been forgiven much, we love much.

We have been forgiven much.


And so I too think about this odd innate need for justice—
this thing we always seem to cry out for—

And this justice of ours seems to be whatever perceived notion we might be feeling at the time,
It springs from deep within our being—and there is indeed a longing.

A longing in each one of us.
We often can’t put our finger on it.
We think with our heads, trying to figure out our heart…
but we most often misread those inward groanings.

I decided to go explore the Healing River’s official site.
It is a faith-based film that sounds extremely powerful.

One reviewer noted that “the message of redemption, forgiveness and mercy
coming from and through our Lord Jesus Christ in this movie is one of great importance,
especially in our troubled world hungry for a message of hope and courage.
Well done!”
Fr. Patrick McMullen, St. Therese Catholic Parish, Cincinnati, OH

And so I now think I know what this cry is.
What it is we always seem to turn to when life seems overwhelmingly
unfair, unjust, and simply undone…
It is not so much for justice that we cry as it is for mercy.
It is not so much for justice as it is for forgiveness.

Sadly there is not a whole lot of forgiveness or mercy running about these days…
days which are so full of protests, anger and violent riots.

Yet those two elements are the key to quelling the painfilled groans within our beings.

Anger and rage are exhausting.
They steal one’s light, peace, joy, hope…

Mercy and forgiveness allow us to finally exhale and finally rest from the fight.

he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear** him;
Psalm 103:10-13

**remember the word fear often translates to respect

11 comments on “Justice for what???

  1. bcparkison says:

    And here lies the problem…the ‘fear’ of the Lord is missing in this world of ours and He will get every ones attention in His time.

  2. atimetoshare.me says:

    The cries for equality and justice are necessary for a nation to thrive, but when the cries turn violent we only see the ugliness of dissension. What we’re seeing now is a call for one race to be stronger than another – to win their freedom, which has already been won, to take over the country through whatever means possible = to destroy our history from which we should learn. It all seems to be led by the opposition of our current administration, funded by them and led by them. With all the other junk that’s going on in our upside down world, we will see more criminals go free. We’ll see more policemen and women leaving their jobs. We’ll see an end to law and order and complete chaos. We need someone strong enough to take a different path than politics as usual in our nation.

  3. atimetoshare.me says:

    I’m afraid they will too.

  4. Well done, Julie! Thanks for the mention. Your post is even better than mine. Very cool!

    I’m fascinated, (also horrified,) by the cries for repentance on the streets, the desire to have people take a knee, to submit to the cause. Those who have been genuinely hurt in life know that there is no amount of groveling, submission, misery on the part of the offender that’s really going to fix it. We can torture and kill somebody, but they have only one life to give and in the process we just become what we despise, the very thing we are seeking justice from.

    It makes me really unpopular and it’s a tough notion to talk about, but Jesus taught us that our own repentance is what changes things. Demanding repentance from others does nothing to fix problems. That’s a real sticky wicket when there is genuine injustice, when you are the injured party. Repentance however, isn’t necessarily just about guilt or admission of wrong doing, it’s the path to healing, to victory.

    • Thanks IB, you your comment here is a beautiful post unto itself…Repentance, humility, forgiveness, mercy…given freely, taken freely, offered freely…and yet it is so hard for the hate-filled to see—we pray for scales to fall from eyes and rocks out of heads!!

  5. Tricia says:

    Really enjoyed this post and IB’s, they partner well together. The word justice, just like the word racism is beginning to have no meaning. Everyone wants “justice”, but if people really understood the meaning they would down on their knees praying to God for mercy. If everything is racist now too which means nothing is. Lunatics abound…;)

  6. Dawn Marie says:

    Anger and rage are exhausting.
    They steal one’s light, peace, joy, hope…

    Mercy and forgiveness allow us to finally exhale and finally rest from the fight.

    At last, a #breathe campaign where love alone resides.

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