By Not Known
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Heb 11:1)
Living by faith and not by sight is a Christian dictum that we have been taught to embrace. But when it comes to situations of injustice where we desire wrong to be put right, I wonder how Christians might live by that same dictum. Does faith in a just God mean suffering in dignified silence, or else register a peaceful voice of protest? Does an active effort to fight for justice suggest a lack of faith?
We need not go into a court room to hear of injustice. Acts of injustice hover around and hurt us every so often at work, in the public square, and even at home. A baseless accusation, an undermining office politics, an outwitting manipulation, a rude shove, an intimidating stare, a sarcastic remark – all these are capable of stirring deep feelings of ridicule and unfairness. We naturally react with retaliatory words or actions. Passive silence is almost a mark of fearful subjection of oneself to a bully. What would you have done?
Consider the examples of our Lord Jesus and one of his esteemed servants Paul. When he was accused of blasphemy by the Jews, Jesus entered into a protracted debate of self-defence with them (Jn 10:22-42). When belittled and mocked by the crowd and soldiers at the cross, Jesus maintained his silence and looked resolutely to the Father (Lk 23:35-46). When Paul and Silas were accused and tried for advocating customs unlawful to the Romans in Philippi, Paul was quick to pick an issue with the magistrates by insisting on their legal rights as Roman citizens although they were let off earlier (Acts 16:35-40). Yet, when Paul wrote in his Philippian letter about those who preach Christ from envy and rivalry so as to afflict him in his imprisonment, he magnanimously rejoiced in their efforts because Christ was proclaimed after all (Phil 1:15-18).
It takes faith in a just God to either endure or battle injustice. To know when to forebear and when to fight requires much wisdom. If we always fight for justice, it might just be our pride at work; or, if we always forebear injustice, it might just be our fear at work. Either way, neither demonstrates faith in a just God nor glorifies him.
Are you experiencing certain injustice right now? How do you know when to forebear or to fight? Wisdom flows from a faith in a just God who vindicates the righteous even though you do not yet see. Call it ‘just’ faith!