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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Justice Is Really Love in Calculation: Christians Need to Use Their "Shields of Faith" In Battle

I believe too many humans choose evil through their free will. This choice is exceedingly selfish as it feeds greedy individual desires for pleasure, money, and power. Evil people have insatiable appetites, and despite the potential for harm, they make decisions they perceive will facilitate the acquisition of their unhealthy needs. Through their chosen thoughts and actions, these hedonists dominate others who then become the innocent casualties of their wrongdoings.

Good people must take appropriate steps to avoid evil. Christians understand the need to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm and the evil temptations that threaten their lives.

Christians believe in God and the “shield of faith” provided by Him that serves as part of their heavenly armor for protection against evil in a world raging with spiritual warfare. This armor is strong, but is belief and faith enough to combat wrong?

Strong spiritual warriors provide us with proven examples of the power of readiness as we seek truth and avoid traps of deception.

"We must keep God in the forefront. Let us be Christian in all our actions."

So spoke one famous American leader in the face of inequality and injustice. He believed individual action against overwhelming evil was part of the duty of being a good Christian. That leader spent his entire life knowing that the majority of the society in which he lived would gladly take his life for demonstrating his Christian convictions.

This man also said, "Love is one of the pinnacle parts of the Christian faith. There is another side called justice, and justice is really love in calculation."

Love in calculation? What does that mean?

Consider that justice is a concept of moral rightness based on many variables including ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, and equity. We like to think that lawful justice is always administered fairly without prejudice. But, in fact, the popular personification of the Lady of Justice as a symbol of legal neutrality is an inaccurate human depiction of the American court system.

Lady Justice is depicted wearing a blindfold while balancing the scales of truth and fairness. The blindfold represents objectivity, in that justice is, or should be, meted out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of identity, money, power, or weakness. Ideally justice is blind and impartial.

Yet, is this the reality of the justice system we find common in America? I think not. If so, very little subjectivity would enter into the calculation of the courts. But, at best, a justice system formed by humans will propagate Godly love after an examination of questionable evidence and probable facts. That legal concept of justice as it relates to fairness is almost certainly “calculated” and seldom “blind.”

We can also say that society is very “calculating” in terms of the application of love. How many of us often say “Life, itself, is not fair”? We use this statement as a warning to our loved ones that every defense against evil, even the strongest they can muster, is not foolproof. We trust that love and faith will overcome dire straits. Unfortunately, sometimes these tenets fail. So, to prepare the ones we love for failure, we offer a view of a “dog eat dog” reality as a necessary conclusion for living through adversity.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is the man who said that “justice is really love in calculation.” He understood that Christians must use their human powers to seek justice. As pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church of Montgomery, Alabama, he believed in the might of nonviolence and love, not in the powers of weapons or hateful domination.

He urged his Christian followers to apply necessary nonviolent actions to invoke needed changes.

King said this about love and power:

Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

Critics of King complained about the ordained clergy's involvement in "earthly, temporal matters." King, however, believed "this view of religion … was too confined." He saw his civil rights activity as an extension of his ministry. He believed people should understand that the Bible calls upon believers to commit themselves to actions that thwart evil. Reverend King preached this:

"The Christian gospel is a two-way road. On the one hand, it seeks to change the souls of men, and thereby unite them with God; on the other hand, it seeks to change the environmental conditions of men so the soul will have a chance after it is changed."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is remembered for his universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence. He gave his life for his Christian beliefs. While he was alive, King taught many useful values through his character and his leadership -- the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service. His vision filled a great void in our nation and answered our collective longing to become a country that truly lived by its noblest principles. His teachings still empower much-needed revolutionary spirit.

Perhaps, most important to the success of the civil rights movement, Dr. King knew that it wasn’t enough just to “talk the talk,” that he had to “walk the walk” for his words to be credible. He was a human being of action who put his life on the line for freedom and justice every day. King braved threats and jail and beatings to conquer evil. Although he know he may not live to see his dreams realized, he urged his followers to keep advancing through adversity to reach the summit of righteousness.

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

My Take

Every year as Martin Luther King Day nears, I try to read and increase my understanding of this remarkable man. I can truly say I don't know where America might be today without the presence of Dr. King. The man, as a leader of faith and a symbol of love, inspires me to find ways to do good for causes in which I believe.

The actions Dr. King organized and carried out are monumental. His skills involving the use of nonviolent protest are legendary. And, in 2013, his memory lives on. We continue to adapt the King spirit of fortitude to our own struggles.

This Martin Luther King Day I ask Christians to consider going beyond belief and faith to take positive actions against an evil that is threatening to destroy the threads of our society and poison the health of our children. I believe Christians must stand up and organize mass efforts to fight drug abuse. They must pledge to become newly educated to the scourge that is so prevalent today.

But more than read about abuse, talk about abuse, and help instill a new attitude about drugs, I believe Christians must take actions to insure we continue to climb toward the goal of making America abuse free.

This goal may seem unattainable, and I am sure without overwhelming support for the cause, little progress will occur. But, make no mistake, the forces of evil intend to abuse every human to meet their greedy ends. The sad truth is that the goal of those in the illegal drug industry is to force dependency; that then leads to addiction; which, in time, leads to horrible suffering and disfiguration; and eventually leads to death.

We must meet evil by applying calculating justice. Our actions against evil must be born of love for all our fellow humans. I believe God intends each of us to take a stand and to do more than sympathize with those who fight evil. I believe Christians need to step beyond faith, and proceed into positive actions.

The process of mass annihilation by substance abuse is currently proceeding with tremendous success. If you believe it is only killing “the weak and the sinners,” I have many true accounts of tragedy I wish to share with you. Our churches can be the best allies of those on the front line of preventing addiction. It it time Christian ministers lead their flocks to rise from the pulpits and take actions against drug abuse.

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