“The past few days have really been hard.”
I’ve heard some version of those well-meaning words several times in the aftermath of George Floyd’s public murder. The traumatizing brutality so blatantly inflicted by a police officer shocked even the most dormant of souls. Protests calling for justice rightfully ensued. Then riots. Then looting.
But the current crisis is not a result of the past few days. Centuries of personal and systemic oppression, racism, and suffering have swelled into a mighty river of pain, anger, and desperation that burst open the dam of societal indifference.
A flood of movement, awareness, and voices crying for justice and equity for all have burst forth. In the midst of great darkness, a glimmer of hope shines forth as sleeping giants wake. Will a generation finally rise up and not only say “no more”, but actually make good on that promise? I hope and pray so.
But a brief word of warning is necessary to those beginning their journey of advocating for justice.
The pursuit of justice requires action. This message is loud and clear at this moment. However, many of us, especially the idealists and romantics among us are disappointed when our expectations (change), do not lineup with reality. We expect that if we just do something, that something good will happen. That isn’t always the case. In the pursuit of justice, it is rarely the case. Here’s why:
The pursuit of justice requires action, upon action, upon action, upon action.
The pursuit of justice requires a marathon of action, not a quick sprint. It demands more than a momentary and emotionally charged moment. It requires perseverance. It requires extraordinary grit. It requires steely determination.
The forces of power, money, and tightly held narratives of ethnocentricity do not give up the fight easily. History shows us this.
Perseverance is …
Winston Churchill saying in the face of Nazi Germany: “If you are going through hell, keep going.”
Martin Luther King Jr. exhorting those weary in the fight for racial equality: “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
Jesus staring down the wrath of God saying, “Not my will be done, but yours Lord.”
Passion may spur us to action, but it will only be perseverance that will pave the way for change and bring about justice.
Let’s pray this way: “Father, give us the strength and courage to be faithful with what you have given our hands to do. When we are weary in the pursuit of righteous justice, grant us the will and resolve, and Holy Spirit power to press on.