“They got what they deserved.”
We long for justice. In fact, much of the separation between political parties and people, in general, is defined by justice. When we look at emotionally charged issues such as racism, justice is often the biggest piece.
The person negatively affected want to feel heard and, more importantly, things to get better (i.e., “more just”). The person who appears to benefit from racism often assumes that the justice of the affected will negatively affect them. Until both come to a logically, emotionally, and spiritually satisfying definition of justice and what justice looks like.
This sounds pretty close to impossible, doesn’t it? It is. This is why those who seek justice often become frustrated, which often develops into anger, whether they are the aggrieved or the established.
As much as we often think that the US is unique, we aren’t. There are countries with greater racism problems, and there are countries with lesser. It doesn’t change that it is there. Often the tensions are just as strong elsewhere, sometimes even stronger. The question is, how do we resolve it?
The answer lies in Rwanda. Decades ago, there was a massive shift between the two primary (but not only) groups, the Tutsi and Hutu. Through a combination of internal politics, German and Belgium historical politics, and Roman Catholic historical misunderstandings, there was a mass killing (often called genocide) of Tutsi people.
This is a prime example because the entire scenario is a mess. According to some historians, the “separation” of the Tutsi/Hutu is a 20th Century (political) invention. Others claim that they have always been distinct. Add internal animosities, colonialist history, and religious teachings, there is no singular cause. It just blew up.
In such a scenario, there is light. There is a Christian reconciliation village where both victim Tutsi and aggressor Hutu. In a recent interview, a man and a woman talked about their lives in the village as neighbors. You heard the love they have for each other, and how they look out for one another. Then you heard that the man killed the woman’s family.
Where’s the justice? Exactly. Whose justice? The woman who will never get her family back? Will she live and writhe in anger? The man? Who followed others, yet took responsibility, and still has nightmares of what he did? Especially, as he hurt a woman that he knows and loves.
The justice of the Kingdom of Heaven is so different than the justice we comprehend. Even justice we believe is guided by the love, grace, mercy, and holiness of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit is still lacking.
What do you think of different people having different understandings of justice? How about in the context of both being followers of Jesus? How do we work through justice issues as fellow followers of Christ, when our starting points are different?
God of Mercy and Justice, help us to be your hands and feet. Guide us to reconcile our own hurting hearts and the hearts of others, that we all may better bear your light and love into the world. Amen.