So I’ve got this necklace that I made last summer. I wear it every day. It is made out of a strip of black leather (not very vegetarian of me I know, but that’s a whole other matter) and eight little wooden cube beads. It looks a little bit like this:
But it’s a bit tatty now. The thing that strikes most people when they see it is that it has a question mark at the end of it. Actually most people think that it’s funny, which it is. But there’s a serious side to it. Some people are offended by it. Seems odd right? I’ll tell you why though, because acknowledging justice means acknowledging right and wrong, and for a lot of us, that means admitting that we’re wrong, selfish. I made the necklace because of God… God really cares about people, and when some people are treated horribly by other people He gets flipping cross. I had a realisation. I am one of those oppressors. I frequently act in a way that implies that I am superior to other people, and their desperate needs are inferior to my wanton desires.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
THAT is why there is a question mark. The necklace challenges me daily, and others, should they choose to accept, to live in a way that comes in line with the ideals that many of us profess. Bear with me, that sounds very vague and unattainable, but wait. We have a legal system in our country (as do most countries) that is in place to ensure that justice is done. Those who commit a crime are made to pay for it in some way, also in court ideally no individual has higher or lower rank than another. We generally have a sense of FAIRNESS that says that people should have EQUAL rights. In sports teams or individuals have to abide by the same rules as other teams or individuals to make the game FAIR. Most educated people would agree that all human beings are intrinsically of equal value. Somewhere in our core there’s something that tells us that human life is sacred.
The problem is the disconnect. If we truly believe that people are valuable and should be treated ‘fairly’ then we will not be willing to accept that vast numbers of individual feeling human beings are treated horrifically every day. If we truly believe that each person is as valuable as another then we would not think it was okay for us to buy luxury items made by the hands of cruelly treated slaves who do not have the essential requirements for healthy life.
So it might be that we are daunted by the huge abyss of human suffering that we perceive, I totally empathise with that. But the good news is we are not responsible for the whole world’s actions, we’re only responsible for our own. That means we are responsible for what we do, and we’re also responsible for what we choose not to do… and for me, that is the scary part.
But there’s more good news: We ABSOLUTELY CAN make a POSITIVE difference in our HURTING world.
Now I’m getting to the crux of my ramble… If every time we make a choice we bear in mind the consequence of our choice for EVERYONE, and we choose to do what is compassionate we WILL be living justly, we will SEE JUSTICE OCCUR!!
So even though I know that many people are hurting I also know that when I choose to buy Fairtrade food, when I get clothes from charity shops and when I have lunch with someone who’s lonely, I change someone’s life for the better. (And if you know me then by now you’ll realise that you don’t have to be extraordinary to make such a difference)
I genuinely believe that as long as there are Humans there will be a sense of Justice,
And as long as there’s a sense of Justice there will be people HOPING FOR that Justice to come about,
And as long as there is HOPE then good things will happen.
So I have a question for you…. (and me)