This morning, my wife and I had a discussion about the law. This is not abnormal. We often like to joke that she deals with human’s law and I deal with God’s law. And, since we often drive to work together in the mornings, we typically talk about whatever we are working on. For her, it’s often trying to psych herself up to go into court to defend the innocent from a system that is not set up for the innocent, but one set up for those in power to profit off of the innocent or powerless more than they already do (my words, not hers).
My wife is an attorney that defends people who have, in almost all cases, been wrongfully convicted, or who have been wronged by the system in some way. This morning she described what its like being in court trying to defend one of these people whom the world has deemed less-than-worthy because of their home, color of their skin, background, income level, etc.
She said, “Sometimes, I think it’s like a boxing match [the legal system]. But not just any boxing match. You can’t try to win, because you can’t. You have to be like Rocky [Balboa]. You have to be able to take all the hits possible and be left standing enough that you wear the system down and they eventually give your client reprieve or something in the form of justice because you’ve exhausted them. It’s not about winning for justice, it’s about having endurance to take what they system throws at you… There are people whose job in life it is to try and dismantle the system, an unjust system. But, dismantling that system isn’t going to help my clients because they have already been wronged. My job is to endure and try to stand up to the system long enough so that they can get some form of justice. That’s my job.”
My wife’s job is to take hits. Like Rocky. And hope she comes out on the other side with some form of justice for her clients.
My wife’s job is her ministry to the world, and she believes that. She has a fundamental duty to use her skills to help people, because, so often, our systems do not.
So many of our social systems are made to force people to endure hit after hit after hit. They are not meant to uplift and help people.
This is the problem.
Jesus does not like systems like those.
When he was asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus did not reply, “to force others to live at your mercy and to give them tests of endurance.” He said, “You must love the LORD your God will all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And a second is like it: you must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the law and prophets depend on these two commands.” (Matt. 22:37-40, CEB)
Humans have replaced loving our neighbor with tests of endurance and unjust systems for those who are not in power.
Jesus would be disgusted at us.
Let’s change some systems. Like now. Because we must.