Based on the events of this week, I thought it most appropriate to include these three quotes from Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. While not an easy book to read from an emotional standpoint it has been an important one for me. Thank you, Alex Henning, for this book recommendation!
My work with the poor and the incarcerated has persuaded me that the opposite of poverty is justice.
Finally, I’ve come to believe that the true measure of our commitment to justice, the character of our society, our commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equality cannot be measured how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.
We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation. Fear and anger can make us vindictive and abusive, unjust and unfair, until we all suffer from the absence of mercy and we condemn ourselves as much as we victimize others.
All of these quotes have made an impact on me. The final quote is the one I have spent the most time wrestling with in the past 48 hours.
The focus this week has been on indictments, or lack thereof, of the officers involved. I have come to believe that Breonna Taylor’s death is an indictment on us all.
This was a tragedy that could and should have been avoided. A tragedy that the Black community faces with far greater regularity than do other communities. These are the realities we must not look away from or try to rationalize.
My prayers are with Breonna Taylor’s family who continue to grieve her killing. They are also with the police officers who are being targeted and harmed. The situation has created chaos which cannot be solved by power or might but only by love of God and neighbor.
How long, O Lord?
Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.