As i, a middle-class white man living in suburbia, watched the news and saw pictures from Ferguson, Mo. i felt a deep pit in my stomach.
African Americans, many of whom i heard on the radio discussing what they see as persistent and systemic injustice against them merely due to their race, are in deep pain.
A young man was taken too soon. Every parent can appreciate the pain Michael Brown’s parents are experiencing right now. If i am going to be anything other than self-interested and self-focused, their pain must touch me.
And it does.
When i see the news i see an aggrieved people lashing out as a result of their pain. i am not endorsing that reaction, but i can understand how it boils over.
Injustice, whether it is real or perceived, stirs us all in the most primal way. This is how God designed us.
Proverbs tells us about the heart of God:
Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent—
the Lord detests them both. [Prov. 17:15, NIV]
This ancient wisdom should compel us who know Jesus to pursue justice and mercy and not become calloused to the pain of others.
This same wisdom must cause our hearts to burn when we read about the horrific events at UVA which resulted in the decision to ban fraternities until next year. That will not be nearly enough, but it is a start.
Again, the heart of God is for justice.
The question i have for myself in light of the burning in Ferguson is this: does my sense of justice burn that intensely against the sin in my own life? If God has put within me — and all of us since we are created in His image — a sense of the wrongness of injustice, do i understand sin in these same terms?
My sin hurts others. My sin treats others as less valuable than myself. My sin is an expression of a deeply held — perhaps even subconscious — belief that what i want is more important than any relationship. My sin is an injustice against God and others.
This is especially true of the sin of indulging porn and lust. Porn is an injustice to women primarily, but —eventually — to everyone.
Ferguson is in chaos because those who feel justice has not been served burn with anger. They burn with anger because they feel wronged, yet again.
God’s patience toward me regarding my sin is astounding, but He does call it sin. It is wrong. And the wrath that is due based on my sin has been unleashed; it fell on Jesus, who heroically stepped into my place. My heart needs to burn, just like Ferguson, as i face the reality of my sin.
My sense of injustice must rise and sin must be treated as the enemy of my soul that it truly is. If i am going to burn like Ferguson, that fire must be directed at the perversion of lust and porn which seek to take my heart captive.