Wineskins Archive

February 11, 2014

Jesus Shows Us How to Respond to Injustice (May-Jun 2002)

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by Jerry Taylor
May – June, 2002

I grew up in the 60s and 70s in Southwest Tennessee where I was exposed to the destructive doctrine of white supremacy. The fundamental doctrine of white supremacy is the belief that according to God’s divine order the white race is endowed with the divine right and privilege to rule over races of color throughout the world. It teaches that races of color have been subjected by God to an inferior position in the worldwide arrangement of the racial pecking order.

As a black child growing up in an extremely racist environment I was indoctrinated with the “under belly” view of the doctrine of white supremacy. Wherein the doctrine of white supremacy aroused in most whites an abusive racial arrogance, it aroused in most blacks a deep sense of racial inferiority. I learned at a very early age that the best of the broader social environment was developed for and reserved for whites only. The white community received the best that social institutions had to offer while blacks were confined to a context of social and spiritual deprivation. Most economic and educational resources were primarily devoted to the commonwealth of the white community. My young mind interpreted my oppressive social context as evidence that God was exclusively on the side of the oppressor. I started to entertain the disastrous belief that my black skin was a theological justification for my experience of social injustice. The penetrating hatred I experienced at the hands of a racist social environment left my spiritual and emotional life at ground zero. This toxic social soil consequently produced within me a crop of resentment that only the Lordship of Jesus Christ could uproot.

When I surrendered to Jesus Christ at the age of twelve at the Hatchie Stree Church of Christ, I was given a totally new self understanding. The church became a welcomed spiritual refuge from the broader hostile social environment. It was in the church that I found the positive encouragement from other believers who had received a new identity in Christ Jesus. The Christ-centered church culture began the redemptive process of purifying my heart and soul of the deadly emotional toxins I had unintentionally picked up from the broader culture which was filled with the mean spirit of hatred for persons of color.

Jesus Christ enabled me to understand the best response one can have when injustice is encountered on a personal and social level. He demonstrated how evil can be overcome. Evil is defeated not by resisting evil but by revealing love and goodness in the presence of evil. People who practice evil are in essence practicing the concealment of good. It is tragic when we conceal goodness as a method of overcoming evil. Evil is defeated not by concealing good, but by revealing good. We are not called to stomp out evil, but we are called to stand for goodness on all occasions. Certainly we must not be ignorant of evil and pretend that it does not exist. We are to be aware of its reality, but our mission is to prove to everyone that doing good is the remedy to doing evil.

The apostle Paul taught this divine principle in Romans 12:17-21: Do not repay anyone evil for evil, he told the churches. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

It is liberating to know that I don’t have to serve as the judge of the world. Justice is a divine principle and it shall be protected by its divine owner. We live in an imperfect world where divine principles are ignorantly violated every day by all races and nationalities. The divine principle of justice cannot be broken, but peoples and nations can break themselves against it by not living in harmony with it. It is righteousness that exalts a nation, but the sin of injustice is a reproach to any people. My assignment as a Christian is to live in complete harmony with the principle of justice at all times in my own personal relationships with others. It is blatant hypocrisy to stand for social justice on a societal level while practicing injustice towards my wife and children within my own home!

The injustice I suffered growing up in that small corner of the world in Southwest Tennessee no longer has control over my life. Jesus Christ has emancipated me from the bondage of my wound. Instead of seeing my wound as a reason to seek revenge I now see my wound as a blessed participation with the wound of Jesus Christ that my sin put into his precious side and out of which flowed the blood of forgiveness and reconciliation. One major truth that Calvary revealed is that human beings do not always judge justly and fairly. On Calvary we are shown that when humanity is divorced from divinity, mankind has the capability of carrying out the most atrocious act of violent injustice against other human beings.

We pray and hope for justice to be practiced throughout the world and within the church of Jesus Christ. When, however, humans do not live up to our expectations regarding the practice of justice, let us prevent our disappointment from becoming a seed of bitterness and hatred. When the human application of justice fails we will do well to follow the example of our Lord and entrust ourselves to our Divine Creator who judges justly according to I Peter 2:23. “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”New Wineskins

Jerry TaylorDr. Jerry Andrew Taylor ministers as a church planter and community organizer in Atlanta, Georgia. He is president of Emancipation Fellowship Ministries, Inc., a non-profit community development organization. Dr. Taylor works with local young people in leadership and character development. Along with other community leaders and activists, he also organizes events to promote positive race relations and social justice. His wife is named Patricia, and they have two children, Alisha and Jeremiah.

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