Just over month ago, I was baking my brains out (or what was left) for a bake table, as part of a fundraiser in support of a ministry that provides food and clothing to the homeless in the downtown core. It was hard work, mixed with fun and disasters (nuts!) but it was also an attempt to move deeper from the shallow end in a long-standing social issue.
Social justice is not new concept, but it seems each generation is rediscovering it in the context of their own “new world”, and more are advocating change in issues that have existed for generations. Historically, there have always been advocates – those voicing their concerns and working to distribute wealth, opportunity, and dignity to those who are unable to speak for themselves. There have been great strides for the greater good, and there have been epic failures that continued to haunt generations. While cake pops are not likely to have a lasting impact in a sea of great need in our city, I certainy don’t regret the time and effort it took to share them.
“Mercy made me cry and justice made me angry.”-Bono
We are all called to show mercy and to extend justice, on a daily basis, to our families, our our communities, and our world. I recently read an article that encouraged me to consider mercy and justice in terms of my heart and life – where I am and perhaps, where I should be.
Showing mercy is easier. Exercising justice is a far deeper journey that requires us to exert effort to move from the shallow end of the spectrum (“that’s terrible”) to the deep end (“how do I get involved?”). As a whole, we tend to get involved initially because it makes us feel good to help others, but our broad focus is on“changing the world” instead of seeing the complexities and blessings in “changing a life”. And changing a life takes time, sacrifice. We shy away from those things which seem too hard or too personal, that exact a physical or emotional cost. In our pleasure, “me-first” society, we get discouraged when we don’t see grand results or receive heaps of praise. We don’t want to “feel bad”. We don’t want to feel powerless. We don’t want to feel like what we do or who we are doesn’t matter. But when we do nothing, we turn our backs on those who feel powerless, and who feel like they don’t matter.
“We need to chose to not live in fear, but with love. And love is not an emotion, but an action.” – Danielle Strickland
I’m not suggesting to anyone reading this that you should run out and jump deeply into a social issue that you are passionate about, but we are all called to live beyond ourselves.
Showing mercy is about responding to human need. It can be as simple as offering a helping hand to a neighbour. It can be as complex as building a relationship.
Showing justice is learning to be an advocate – not just to bring awareness, but to learn how to implement change in a way that is respectful and personal.
The heart of mercy and justice is just that – the heart.
A heart for people.
* * *
I sat for the longest time staring at the last two sentences.
It seems like such an overly simple answer for such an overwhelmingly damaged world. But if we each had a heart for people, wouldn’t we transform our world? From heart to heart to heart…
This has been a “10 Minute Monday” post (where I write about whatever I want for a minimum 10 minutes, no editing – mayhem, memories, maudlin mumblings, or “mwa ha ha” moments.