“We are not called to fix the world but to faithfully respond with the resources, strength, and love we have. . . . The call to justice is not about fruitfulness but faithfulness. . . . In God’s way of doing things, the small, hidden, incremental acts of love have a way of being harnessed by the Spirit for great good. This is the way of the Cross.”- Rich Villodas
“When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ “- Acts 3:3-4 (NIV)
Rich Villodas concludes Chapter 9 of Good and Beautiful and Kind as he underscores the need to move beyond naming problems to pursuing solutions. Because, Rich points out, often justice masquerades as outrage baptized in disembodied calls for fairness. And, Pastor Villodas adds:
“The injustice we renounce has a way of sneaking through the back door of our psyches. . . . Justice must move beyond emotional catharsis toward a commitment to action in some capacity. Outrage is a great brand builder but a poor justice maker.”
Therefore, the author exhorts, view others with a loving gaze – dignifying attention. For example, as Peter and John walked into the temple to worship, they encountered a man lame from birth. Then, Peter and John looked straight at him. As Pastor Villodas stresses, justice in the way of Jesus takes time to look at people and dignify them.
In conclusion, Rich counsels, we must work for justice as we operate from the center of God’s love. Thus, we must take care not to make the good work we give ourselves into an idol. An idol that takes the place of Jesus. As Rich astutely notes:
“We work for justice not because it justifies us; rather, because we’re justified, we work for justice.”
Hence, as we pour ourselves out in love, we take not of our limitations. And we confess that only Jesus makes all things new.
Today’s question: How do you answer the call to justice? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the annotated bibliography of Good and Beautiful and Kind