Live Justly and Work for Justice

July 6th, 2012

Elie Wiesel was 15 years old when, along with his parents and three sisters, he was deported by the Nazis to Auchswitz. His mother and younger sister died there. He and his father were later transported to Buchenwald, where his father died shortly before the camp was liberated in April 1945.

After the war, Elie Wiesel studied in Paris and became a journalist. A French writer persuaded him to write about his experiences in the death camps; his internationallly acclaimed memoir, Night, is the result. Translated into more that 30 languages, it and his many other writings and addresses have helped countless individu-als better understand what can happen when good people choose silence and indifference over protest and action in the face of injustice.

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation," he has said. "We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

Every human heart beats to the rhythm of justice because justice characterizes the God who created each of us. We actively demonstrate our relationship to God when we work for justice. The sheer volume of Old and New Testament texts that call God's people to live justly and work for justice affirms its importance to God. Rather than a single-handed pursuit, God's justice is relational and communal. Justice for God is not an end in itself. Combined with holiness and compassion, it forms the pathway to the peace God desires for all creation.

Our challenge is to move beyond kindhearted emotions to determined choices and purposeful actions as we seek to live out God's call to us to live justly. The resolve to answer this call often begins with thoughtful dialogue. "Words," said Elie Wiesel, some-times, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds."

May the words of Scripture lead you to deeds that help create and maintain justice for your community and our world. "What does the LORD your God require of you? Only to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the com-mandments of the LORD" (Deuteronomy 10: 12-13).


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