Loving For Justice
Dr. King believed, “Justice at its best is love correcting all that stands against love.” This implies a deliberate action one would take to achieve justice; showing love.
But love isn’t the easiest choice. When faced with a horrific injustice such as Rape in the Congo, it’s more natural to desire an abrupt end to this abomination than to invest the necessary time, patience and money to solve the epidemic through love.
In America especially, the first reaction to injustice is often an eye for an eye. “If you kill someone, we’ll kill you.”
I have yet to witness this as a viable long-term solution. It tends only to serve the immediate desire for power and a satisfied ego. The long-term solution is one of patience, kindness and love, all of which require a tremendous amount of discipline and deliberateness.
I am a fighter at heart, in that I desire justice. But I am no longer a fighter in the literal sense of the word. It is still my first instinct to stop injustice “by any means necessary”. Everything inside me wants to fight.
But I have come to realize this fight does not serve the people so much as it serves my ego and need for purpose. More often it creates even worse problems. This journey has proven to be my most difficult human challenge. I strive daily to be a “petitioner of love”.
Sure, it sounds heroic to annihilate an evil dictator regime, but does it truly solve the problem, or just give the appearance of resolution only to create more problems down the road that ensure the indefinite necessity for your services; i.e. repeat business.
If justice is love personified, how can we justify war to bring about peace? Is that merely a quick and non-sustainable fix?
The principle of non-violence has worked on a small scale, but I wonder if there is an example in history where it worked on a large scale as an alternative to war. As a principle, if people let a rebel army come in and rape their women and children and still loved the rebels, perhaps over time the rebels would change. It would maybe be a more permanent, peaceful change. However, I admit that I have no problem with killing someone to protect my family. Sometimes there is just evil.
This is beyond my personal experience but interesting for me to consider.
Sutton, I feel you on this. This is something I’ve struggled with a lot, in application. I am usually the first guy to run out in the street when I see someone being abused. And then I’m the first to stop the abuser, by any means necessary, without pause. That’s part of why I’ve been so focused on this topic lately.
I think there is a fine line between fighting back when someone is (at that moment) beating you or a loved one. Stoping an imminent life threatening blow is different than addressing a long standing epidemic like a civil war in Congo. This is something that has been going on for almost as long as I’ve been alive.
This is truly a difficult and complicated issue that I am learning about daily. But if you look at what Haile Selassie (former emperor of Ethiopia and father of the Rastafarian movement) did to liberate Ethiopia from Italian tyranny, or what Ghandi did to put peace on the worldwide map by refusing to use violence to stop violence, it’s pretty compelling. It took a long time. And both icons where lambasted by the public for not fighting back. But look what their legacies have done for peace.
Again, it’s not the easy or immediate solution, but it certainly works better in the long run.
Mmmmm………a very interesting comment by Sutton! This is a great blog, Jared, on an issue that I know is dear to your heart. Made me think of Ghandi and his efforts to create peace and non-violence. I remember seeing the movie and wishing he would just FIGHT! But knowing he would not……and in the end………he helped change his country and became an icon for peace and justice. However, I certainly find merit in Sutton’s comment and have to admit I would kill to protect my child if I had to. He is right…….there is evil out there and I pray I never get tested. Keep writing. I love to read your thoughts!
Jared: Great Blog! Speaking of Ghandi, I have taken to heart his quote…. “Be the change you want to see in the world”. I can say it wasn’t easy for me but when I wanted peace, I had to quit expecting everyone else to do things to bring me or give me peace. I finally understand it took me, being peace, for me to have peace and share peace with others. There is a fine line I believe between war and peace. What sense does it make to fight for peace? Fighting doesn’t bring about peace, only more fighting. Only peace breeds peace. I love your quote about being a “petitioner of love”, I will walk that walk with you in hopes we can together spread peace & love throughout the world. You are such an inspiration. Keep up the good work, my brother. That’s funny. I don’t normally call people brother, but I feel a connection to you. Guess we really are related, since we are all one. ” I am, because of you! “
Thanks Connie! As I mentioned, this journey has proven to be a serious struggle for me, even as I write and speak the words. I want to fight. I want to nip injustice at the bud. When I see something horrific, like I often do in parts of Africa, I want to just run in, throw my fists and make it stop. But I’m learning that isn’t a long term solution. Niether is war. It’s the same concept, on a larger level.
Being a petitioner of love is the difficult choice. It’s the one that requires resolve and diligence. It’s the one that incites long term healing and change. I am happy and encouraged to know that you are walking with us in this revolution of love. I think it’s what the world needs. And I think that if I do it long enough, it will heal that part of me that always wants to fight first and think later.
Ghandi! Ghandi and Dr. King both kept the peace and won. They must of had doubts and anger at times, but chose love instead. This is very deep since it deals with loving and enemy that may be threatening family. Principles are timeless and always work, but I need to spend some time thinking about this. Very deep post.
Well said J. I know how close this is to your heart and I’m so proud of you.
I just have to add this quote your sister sent (thanks Ashely)…it just goes so well with your thoughts here.
“Forgiving is not forgetting; it’s actually remembering – – remembering and not using your right to hit back. It’s a second chance for a new beginning. And the remembering part is particularly important. Especially if you don’t want to repeat what happened.”
~ Desmond Tutu