Anglican priest Tish Harrison Warren explained how compassion sparked within her a yearning for justice:
I rarely resonate with the image of Jesus as a judge. I gravitate to my hippie version of Jesus, with a flower tucked behind his ear. I’m drawn to his grace, his kindness, his beauty. But when I encounter those afflicted by entrenched injustice, I yearn for a God who sees, and who will work on behalf of those abandoned by the world.
Ultimately our hope is not only that Christ will be found among the afflicted, but that affliction itself will end.Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep (2021), 148-149
Perhaps that’s why the following passage from the book of Isaiah caught my attention this week. In this passage, God laments the sorry state of the children of Israel, who have separated themselves from Him. Here is one symptom of that separation:
None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.Isaiah 59:4
Our God is a God of justice. He loves His children and wants them all to be treated fairly. Those who follow Him ought to have the same desire. That doesn’t mean that we seek vengeance when people are mistreated. Only God is capable of doing that, which is why He said, “Vengeance is mine” (Mormon 3:15, Mormon 8:20, Romans 12:19). But when we see injustices in the world, we ought to care. When we see people being mistreated, we ought to speak up. We ought to do something.
About twenty three years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Nephi was horrified at the corruption he saw in the city of Zarahemla, where he had once served as chief judge:
Seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment-seats—having usurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him; doing no justice unto the children of men;Helaman 7:4, emphasis added
Nephi responded by calling the people to repentance and performing miracles by the power of God. Some of the people responded; others did not. But Nephi could not stand idly by as his people sank into anarchy.
In the end, God will establish justice. He will be the “intercessor” on behalf of all who have been mistreated. He will “put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head.” He will “put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,” and He will be “clad with zeal” (Isaiah 59:16-17).
But until that day comes, it is incumbent upon us to look after the downtrodden and the abused, and to do all we can to create a more just and equitable world.
Today, I will speak up when things are not right. I will pay attention to those who are victims of injustice, and I will do what I can on their behalf. I will “[call] for justice” and “[plead] for truth.”
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