“Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right” Psalm 106:3
Scripture refers repeatedly to the widow and the fatherless as groups of people who are most vulnerable to oppression. Those who can't protect themselves, those who are at the mercy of others, those who have such a small voice that it is usually not heard. God is clear about the judgment that will come on the oppressor and about the vindication He will bring about for His people.
We are invited and expected as God's people to “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8). We serve a God of freedom and liberation and are called to be agents of ushering in His kingdom of justice. We must be a people who speak out against the injustice we see around us and taking place in our world. It is easy to hear of suffering thousands of miles away and turn a blind eye, but we are called to pursue justice even in our own neighborhoods and towns.
Rebecca and I see so much oppression in our work on the streets. Police regularly come over to harass kids on the streets as criminals, drug dealers and general nuisances to society. While some of our friends do fit these descriptions, all face the harassments, beatings, false arrests as the result of looking a certain way. We stand up for justice we are present. We've broken up fights between teens arguing over something trivial, protected girls who were being hit and abused by their boyfriends and even intervened to stop a high mother from beating her child.
The other day as I was in line waiting for the bus the person in front of me turned chuckled, “look at the disgrace,” pointing to a 15 year old boy sleeping on the sidewalk. I promptly informed him that the child was created by God and the “disgrace” is that more of us are not moved to acts of compassion.
The Psalmist pronounces blessing on those whom maintain justice. This doesn't mean we have to fight military junta on the other side of the globe or work in refugee camps in Africa, though we should be concerned about suffering throughout the world. We are called to see injustice in the faces of those who suffer in our towns and actively pursue transformation. Through abuses to immigrants, children in sweat shops, people living on the streets, those addicted to drugs and domestic violence we find that injustice is not so far from our lives. How will we secure justice for the poor and needy (Jeremiah 22:16)?
We look forward to being in the US during the month of June and sharing more of our hearts with you. We can't wait to see each of your faces and be refreshed and encouraged.
Rich and Rebecca Nichols