Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Why we weep

As I read this article by Eric Janzen in the Clarion Journal of Spirituality and Justice, I related to his experience of weeping over injustice. As I listen to disturbing experiences of painful injustice my heart also breaks.

I recall one day not long ago when a funder from a foundation stopped by Breakthrough for a site visit. The three of us Breakthrough staff who met with the funder had just been in a BUILD meeting in which we had listened to community members talk about their experiences of racism. As we described to the funder the reasons why we do what we do, and why we need to speak out against such injustices, we all three began to cry in front of the funder. We had to pass around a box of kleenex.

Janzen says he has learned to sit in that pain and recognize that the emotion is from God's heart of love for people and rage at injustice. Here's a quote from the article.
One day I read an article that described the horrific abuse of a child. A wave of emotion washed through me and I began to weep. Tears poured out of my eyes and I hastily wiped them away, trying to retain some sense of composure. I was, after all, sitting in a coffee shop surrounded by people. I was overcome with deep sorrow for this child, and at the same time, I felt a rage rising up within me towards those who had caused this child’s terrible suffering. I wanted to turn the page, to shut off the emotions, which were so raw and almost too painful to handle.

Then I felt the gentle whisper of the Lord and He seemed to say to me, “You are feeling a fraction of what I feel for this little one. You are weeping because I am weeping. Your heart is hearing my heart-cry for that child.” I paused and considered what I felt the Lord had spoken to me. I chose not to turn the page. I chose to let the sorrow I was feeling run its course because I love God and I wanted to show Him that I would care about what He cared about so much. After that experience, something changed within me. There have been many times now that I have found myself weeping or becoming angry over the injustices that I read about or see in the news. Each time this happens, I know that I am feeling something of what God feels about those situations. He has set me on a journey to know Him more deeply. I have begun to know the God who loves justice and hates injustice.

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