Author’s note: This is a Birthday Edition. Our weekly is 15 years old! Born in 2001 before social media took off, we are glad to send you this 584th Edition. Today’s weekly is dedicated to my friend and former Board Member Mark Sheard who’s idea it was, all those years ago, to establish a regular relationship with our members. It also is sent in memory of Liz Sheard who I never met but encountered in her son, Mark, and the Godly legacy she built. Thanks for the ideas Mark, I think I honoured them!
Geoff Shattock November 2016
Injustice is a fact of work. From petty discrimination to major mistreatment it is a reality faced by billions every day. As you read this piece you will be able to take your mind to a moment or era of injustice you have experienced, major or minor, in its scope.
The question is not whether you are facing injustice in your work, but how will you handle it? Will you let it bend you out of shape, generating a twisted feature in your soul or will you be able to keep your shape, staying strong as you make your choices?
When the Son of Man arrived in the Gethsemane Grove he knew he was about to face 18 hours of sustained injustice which would not just wound him but kill him. I don’t expect any readers of these words will face fatal injustice but many do all around the world.
So how did the Son of Man keep his shape in the face of injustice? Back to the olive grove, first, he asked his friends to watch and pray with him. Even though they ultimately let him down (which was also part of the injustice) he invited them to pray. Behind this invitation of course was a desire not to face the injustice alone but ask his friends to share the burdens with him.
It was no vague prayer that he prayed. He was wrestling with the will of God, wondering out loud if there was a way of avoiding what was to come, while knowing there was not. This is an important matter. The Son of Man knew the will of God yet simultaneously wrestled with the difficulty in following the path.
Jesus’ turning to prayer in the face of injustice was exactly what he taught his followers to do. In a parable nicknamed the Parable of Unjust Judge, the Son of Man spells out the importance of always praying and never giving up; and the prayer? It was a prayer for justice.
With a humorous twist Jesus crafts the story showing that the unjust judge will see that the widow gets justice so he wouldn’t get worn out with her bothering him!
Fast forward to the Son of Man before Pilate and another truth emerges. Pilate explains to Jesus that he has power of life or death over him. Far from rolling over, the Son of Man points out that Pilate only has power as permitted by the Father. Jesus sees past the powers that appear to the power that is and in so doing can see the loving face of God behind the unjust face of Pilate.
This habit of seeing beyond helps you realize that injustice will be overturned, no one “gets away with it” in the end because there is a just and loving Judge. This can help you avoid vengeance and bitterness. It is worth noting that an atheist who has written off God because of the injustice in the world has not solved the problem but made it worse. In the atheistic world view justice never arrives, wrongs never get righted, debts are never paid.
Last in this 15th Anniversary Edition can I show you a beautiful paradox? Ask yourself this question. How could any just judge and fair court ever convict the Son of Man? They could not. He was guilty of no crime, he had broken no law, he had told no lies. Yet he had come to lay down his perfect life. That was the work he was going to do.
The only way the Son of Man could fulfill his purpose was through human injustice sentencing him to death. Not only did he keep his shape but he harnessed injustice, shaping it to his life’s work.
I’m not sure how that might play out in your life but I do know that some of the greatest injustices I have experienced have been harnessed to further the purpose of my life. It’s worth pondering as you pray always, never give up and see past your struggles to the Father.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
In preparation for the next GEOFFSHATTOCKweekly, do feel free to email us your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on our Facebook or Twitter profile. You can also visit our YouTube channel - get inspired and share Worktalk's vision with others.
© Copyright 2019 Geoff Shattock
All GEOFFSHATTOCKweekly archives are for personal use only. For permission to use for any other purposes please email using the address below thank you.