Hi, Rob here. Injustice surrounds us everyday. It’s not just the stories we hear on the news – kidnapped girls in Nigeria, a child sex ring busted, life savings lost through one person’s act of fraud – but little acts and attitudes that serve to remind us how much we need Jesus. At the heart of injustice is dehumanisation. Any act or attitude that thinks of people as anything other than human beings with a heart, mind and soul is where you see injustice. In Psalm 139:23-24, David writes:
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.
What a brave prayer! Do you want God to search your deepest parts and root out anything that is offensive to him? The fact is that it is incredibly difficult to hold up people as fully human when they act in inhumane ways. How do we really see child pornographers or serial killers or terrorists? Worse though is when we dehumanise people simply for being different to us. We do this more than we know. In Rwanda Tutsi’s got labelled as “cockroaches” by the Hutu-led government. What do you do with cockroaches? Is it any wonder that the country suffered one of the worst massacres of the 20th century in 1994? Hitler dehumanised the Jews and they were nearly wiped out in Europe. Africans were labelled as monkeys and became slaves. Many indigenous people were called “savages” by the colonising powers in the 18th and 19th centuries and saw their countries taken over by these empires. And you and I have stereotyped and joked and had thoughts that have added fuel to the fire of injustice that rages around us. Michael Jackson once sang,
I’m starting with the Man in the Mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways.
I’m asking God to change me, to make me more compassionate, more human; to see, and love and act like he does towards me. I want my heart, which has been made new, to be alive to the beauty of humanity and to lament when it is lost, and not to judge. This isn’t wishy-washy. It’s tough. It’s taking a stand that evil and injustice will not steal my heart for the redemption of all humanity. It’s to eagerly anticipate the day when,
…and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb…And they cried out in a loud voice:
Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. Revelation 7:9-10
As I pondered our ability to dehumanise each other, a poem of lament, anger and hope arose. Here it is.
Insults and whips and pain. How dare you
Insult the image
of the Living God!
We are not cockroaches,
Nor refuse to be trashed.
And created man and woman.
He created them and you and me.
Not to be used, exploited or oppressed.
Not to be raped, killed or enslaved.
But to be free, to be loved.
How do I know?
Because He came
In the flesh.
Injustice landed on him.
And the whips, the mocking and the pain.
He took it all.
Oppression will not win.
Nor contempt or arrogance or greed.
Justice lies in the hand of the Risen One.
Jesus came to make us all truly human again. That’s why he came as one of us! We are made in the image of the Living God. Each one. Let’s celebrate each others differences and learn from them. Let us love one another for love comes from God and may his image be seen in and through the way we treat each other.