Thursday, July 7, 2011

Injustice

After hearing about the Casey Anthony verdict, I joined the many people who have been hurting for the injustice that was done to an innocent two year-old girl. However, the injustice that Cayley experienced did not happen yesterday, it happened several years ago when she was neglectfully discarded by a very selfish person who was not able to consider the needs of someone else above her own desires. Unfortunately, Mrs. Anthony is not the only person who has a tendency to only consider their own needs above someone else.
Although the verdict itself may have been highly related to lots of legal pyrotechnics concerning the definition of “reasonable doubt,” I think it is also a commentary concerning the values of our society. May be we forget that in this country it is legal to kill a child, as long as that child is still in the womb and is not considered “viable.” The Guttmacher Institute reports that the most common reported reason for women having abortions is that having a child would “dramatically change MY life.” 
In Matthew 14, Jesus’ cousin experienced a similar injustice. John the Baptist spoke out against the selfish behavior of the king, suggesting what he was doing was against their Jewish law. As a result of his speech, John the Baptist upset the wrong people, leading to his death by beheading. As a point of contrast to the king’s behavior, Jesus seems to have desired solitude to deal with his grief, but he put the needs of others above his own and engaged the crowd who was following him.
Both John the Baptist and Jesus put other’s needs above themselves. John stood up for what was right despite the consequences, Jesus had compassion even through his grief. Such behavior is often at odds with the individualism of society. 
The dark side of individualism is that it rewards seeking the individual’s benefits at the expense of others. I am very often guilty of only looking out for myself. The issue becomes particularly poignant when the collateral damage in one’s pursuit is the life of an innocent child. Despite the fact that precious Cayley is finally with the one who loves her unconditionally, it still is not right what she experienced. Jesus’ example and his words would have us sacrifice for others, not make them sacrifice for us. This has many many implications for our behavior in the world. How can the church to stand up and look out for those who are marginalized in a system of selfishness? What can we do to look for others’ needs above ourselves?

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