Thursday of Lent 4, April 4, 2019
“Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins. His mercy endures for ever.”
Today we continue with the wrongs done by indifference to injustice and cruelty:
Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done:
for our blindness to human need and suffering,
and our indifference to injustice and cruelty,
Accept our repentance, Lord.
In our baptismal covenant we are asked: “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” (BCP 305) Whether it’s because of the way our news is reported now or whether there is an actual increase in cruelty, it seems it’s impossible to read or listen to the news without hearing about cruelty to people or animals. Injustice, whether through corruption or mistakes, results in an offense against the dignity of another person. Cruelty and injustice are clearly wrongs. But what we repent of in this part of the litany is not our active participation in these wrongs, but in the disposition of no longer caring that these wrongs are happening.
Our indifference to injustice and cruelty, like our blindness to human need and suffering, comes from a variety of reasons: compassion overload, despair because we feel or are powerless to prevent or repair these wounds to our society, or being overwhelmed by the amount of horrible things that we see being done each day. But as we grow indifferent to these injustices and cruel acts, we risk losing a part of ourselves that is central to who we are as baptized people: we risk losing the ability to grieve with God that things are not as they should be. As we grow numb to injustice and cruelty, we risk losing hope—and we need to retain the hope that God can bring the perpetrators of cruelty and injustice to repentance as well as the hope that God can work through us to change these present systems of injustice.
To what forms of injustice or cruelty have you grown indifferent?
What forms of injustice or cruelty are not discussed in your worshiping community or our diocese?
Look with pity, O heavenly Father, upon the people in this land who live with injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constant companions. Have mercy upon us. Help us to eliminate our cruelty to these our neighbors. Strengthen those who spend their lives establishing equal protection of the law and equal opportunities for all. And grant that every one of us may enjoy a fair portion of the riches of this land; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(36. For the Oppressed, BCP 826)