SEEK JUSTICE: Micah 6:8


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Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24 AMP)

We are facing real issues of injustice in our nation right now. The deaths of Floyd, Arbery and Taylor are deeply painful wounds in a long standing and evil injustice. People are profoundly hurt and justifiably angry. It is an injustice that is wounding our hearts and souls, and our nation.

I truly believe most people are united in the desire to bring this evil to an end. How do we seek justice without going to war against each other? How do we create safe places for people to speak their pain and hurt in a way that fosters true healing and unity? That is unity, NOT uniformity.

In studying the life of Jacob I have found my way through. I have found my voice. I am not saying I have all the answers. I don’t. However, in Jacob’s story I see a way to address the situation. The thing that has stood out to me most in this study, is the relationships, especially the relationship between Jacob and Laban.

Jacob worked for Laban for 20 years, 14 of those as an indentured servant. Throughout their relationship, Laban operated deceptively and opportunistically. At every turn he cheated Jacob. When he did agree to pay Jacob, Laban continually changed the terms of Jacobs pay to benefit himself and keep Jacob indentured. It was one betrayal after another. In that time Laban profited tremendously from Jacobs abilities and favor with God.

It is the hallmark of the abuser to devalue others and see them only as tools to be used. Laban valued Jacob only for what he could get from Jacob and used him. By contrast Jacob valued Laban as a creation of the almighty and dealt with him with integrity. Jacob exercised great integrity and humility. To be VERY clear; humility is NEVER to be understood as passively complying with someone who uses and abuses you! Real humility, the humility that Jacob displayed, was to acknowledge Laban as a human being made in the image of God, whether Laban reflected it or not. Jacob submitted himself to God, then dealt with Laban was an extension of his relationship with God. That takes real strength of character and True integrity.

After 20 years of servitude, Jacob asked to leave with his family. Laban offered Jacob a salary. Laban doesn’t do this from a place of integrity. He does it so he can continue to benefit from Jacob’s skill and favor with God. Because Jacob is following God’s lead, he agrees to Laban’s terms for wages. True to character Laban continues to use and cheat him.

Amazingly, Jacob didn’t use Laban’s breach of contract as a reason, though justified, to go to war with him. Instead of fighting against Laban’s deception and treachery, Jacob stays within the terms of the contract and allows God to turn events to Jacobs benefit. No matter how Laban cheated, God used Laban’s treachery to benefit Jacob. Because he followed God’s lead, Jacob prevailed and God was able to prosper and protect him in a way that would have been impossible otherwise.

Ultimately God Himself deals the blow that ends Laban’s abuses. God tells Jacob he is free to go without Laban’s consent and warns Laban to leave Jacob unmolested. Laban can’t quite do that, so he confronts Jacob about ‘sneaking away’. Jacob responds, “if the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the fear of Isaac, had not been with me you would surely have sent me away now empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and humiliation and the labor of my hands and rebuked you.” (Gen. 31:42) It is Laban who walks away empty-handed. Jacob prevails.

Jacob’s integrity and humility in the face of Laban’s injustice are why he prevails. It is one of the reasons God changed his name to Israel. Israel means contender or one who prevails. Jacob contended with Laban, but it wasn’t all out war. Like a prizefighter, Jacobs made choices and took actions based on godly values and principles. As a result, Jacob prevailed. I want to believe that Laban was changed through this interaction but I honestly don’t know. What I do know is I need to choose whose lead will I follow?

Will I be like Laban valuing people only for what I can get out of them to further my agenda?

OR

Will I choose to be like Jacob and acknowledge the image of God in everyone and treat them with integrity and respect?

Like Jacob we need to follow God’s lead in the present and demonic situation. We do what God tells us to do and move when he calls us to move. We allow humility and integrity to direct our actions. We acknowledge and honor the image of God in every human being. We speak humbly with the strength of the Spirit. We wrestle with God and NEVER let go until He changes our name, until He transforms us into godly contenders who prevail without destroying. Then whatever God tells us to do, we do it! Perhaps then God can bring an end to the humiliation and affliction of racism.

THE VALUE OF LIFE

God said, Let us make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness…In the image and likeness of God He created them: male and female He created them. (Gen 2:26, 27 AMP)

I avoided watching the George Floyd video. I have lived through enough violence in my life, that seeing it affects me deeply. A trusted friend suggested I needed to see it, so I watched. I was horrified by what I saw! It gutted me! Seeing a police officer, sworn to protect citizens and uphold the law, murder a man in such a brutal and indifferent manner shredded my soul! Now, everyone wants to put their spin on it.  ‘He was a lifelong petty criminal with a history of drugs.’  ‘He was a Bible believing Christian with a history of ministry’

The fact is, neither of those things matter. If he had been a full-on enforcer for the worst gang in the country, responsible multiple deaths, his murder was still unjust and wrong. It is not a police officers’ job to execute punishment for crimes by kneeling on someone’s neck until they are dead. His life was not the officer’s to take.  IF, by the laws of this country, George Floyd had been CONVICTED of crimes worthy of the death penalty, it is the job of the court system to determine and dole out punishment. If that had happened, it certainly would not have been the cruel and unusual punishment exacted by that officer. Likewise, it doesn’t make his death more unjust or more wrong, if he was a Bible believing minister. It might make it more tragic but not more unjust or more wrong.

The value of human life isn’t based on good behavior or devalued by bad.  A person’s character may be tarnished by bad behavior, but our value as human beings is a constant based on being made in the image of God, plain and simple. It can’t be changed. It can’t be enhanced or diminished. Our value is inherent, meaning it is a permanent and essential part of being human. It can’t be taken away. George Floyd was deprived of the basic human right of life by an act of depraved indifference to his value as a human being made in the image of God.  It is wrong on its face.  How George lived his life does not determine his value as a human being or justify taking his life.     

Whenever we start defining the value of human life based on something other than being made in the image of God, we are on DANGEROUS ground. We have missed the point. Defining the value of another human being based on good or bad behavior, the colour of their skin or any other category we want to place people in, is a trap from the enemy. It is wrong. It is evil incarnate. Left unchallenged, it will ultimately lead to the subjugation and destruction of the value of all humanity under the heels of hateful and evil people. It MUST be rooted out and opposed in all its forms!

Mr. Floyd may have committed a crime.  If he did, he deserved to be tried in a court of law. If convicted he deserved to be given a punishment equal to his crime.  He did not deserve to be deprived of his value and dignity as a human being. He did not deserve to be murdered in the street in the brutal, depraved and racist way he was. We need to value and protect human life and treat each other with dignity even, and perhaps especially, in difficult circumstances. When we are in situations of conflict, we need to protect the rights and dignity of all people or no one will have either. Every life is valuable. Every life matters, without exception