Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Good News About Injustice

Good News About Injustice: A Witness of Courage in a Hurting World
Gary A. Haugen

Gary is the International Justice Mission founder. He thinks like a lawyer and has seen terrible brokenness all over the world from the Rwandan Massacre to thirteen year olds in brothels to child bonded labor in Indian mudalali cigarette factories to many other situations of terrible oppression. His writing is orderly and logical (he is a lawyer after all) and the book serves to remind the body of Christ that we all play a role in fighting global injustices. The book includes the anatomy of injustice and what you can do to combat it.

“Overtime I have come to see questions about suffering in the world not so much as questions of God's character but as questions about the obedience and faith of God's people" (pg. 100).

Haugen’s book is intentionally encouraging. He recognizes frequently the overwhelming power of suffering to freeze and numb people while reminding his readers that God goes before us, he is the firm ground beneath us even as we venture into chaotic and dangerous territory. If we are to be God’s hands and feet, we must go to the people Christ healed and comforted.

"Why O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? God may be asking similar questions—not of himself but of his people: 'And the LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene.' 'Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' (Isaiah 6:8; 59:15-16)" (pg. 140-141).

Haugen reminds his readers that the first step in bringing justice is to remember the suffering people. So many of us live in comfortable, controlled places that disconnect us from real suffering in the world. We could read in a newspaper about a terrible war crime or assault but neglect to remember the victim as uniquely created in God’s own image until we step out of our comfortable world into the world of suffering armed with the lovingly powerful heart of God.

I had forgotten how powerfully inspiring and convicting this book is, having not read it in nearly three years. I realize that in my own life, even knowing people that have personally experienced tremendous oppression I may remember them fondly for the friendship created but still I neglect to remember daily and petition for justice to reign for these dear friends. How quickly we forget even the most profound spiritual lessons when we live comfortable lives of detachment from unjust suffering.

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