Checking my idea of justiceBy Stephen Kriss
The afternoon of May 1, I was at the Save-A-Lot on Washington Avenue in South Philadelphia. It’s a discount grocery store full of diverse shoppers scouring for food at bargain prices. It’s the kind of place in Philadelphia where tension often lurks just below the surface of everyday interactions.
The line at the only open checkout register was long and winding. It was hard to tell who was in what place and easy to lose whatever position you thought you might have.
After waiting in line for a few minutes, another shopper returned to a cart full of food that had been abandoned. He quickly reasserted himself to his previous space in the line while the rest of us watched in frustrated wonder at his tenacity and insistence.
In the midst of our glares and stares he turned around and said, “Well, where would you like me to go?”
A woman quickly responded, “I’d like for you go to hell, but that wouldn’t be a very Christian response.” We all laughed uncomfortably.
Later that day, I watched the news unfold about the assassination of Osama bin Laden. I streamed Al-Jazeera online to hear perspectives from the Arab world. I watched as friends — Muslims, Mennonites, Indonesians, evangelicals, friends in the military — commented on Facebook.
There were calls for celebration, irritation with the president, calls for peacemaking, notes of appreciation for the military and hopes that now it would be time for U.S. soldiers to come home.
My first response to bin Laden’s death was relief and satisfaction. But as someone who professes the way of Christ, I have to check my own sense of justice against what I know of Jesus.
I recognize I’m called to be transformed — somewhere between my head, heart, gut and hands — toward an appropriate faithful response that trusts God’s care, justice and peace above human retribution.
Forgiveness is hard work. Nonviolent response is not always my immediate impulse.
Comment on the article Checking my idea of justice
Please keep comments civil. MWR editors reserve the right to remove any comment. When posting a comment, you agree to the MWR Comments Policy. Name and comment will be posted; commenters are strongly encouraged to give their full name. Email address is for follow-up only and will not be made public.