How do you “Defend the Just Cause”?

“They have grown fat and sleek. Their evil deeds have no limit; they do not seek justice. They do not promote the case of the fatherless; they do not defend the just cause of the poor.” (Jeremiah 5:28)

I was really challenged by the insights of Eric Metaxas, (in his book on Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy)  to consider the way that we live before God in a world that seems orchestrated by unbelieving people. Bonhoeffer, living and dying under Hitler’s brutal regime, has a right to speak to this. He said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Here’s Metaxas: “Bonhoeffer examined and dismissed a number of approaches to dealing with evil. “Reasonable people,” he said, think that “with a little reason, they can pull back together a structure that has come apart at the joints.” Then there are the ethical “fanatics” who “believe that they can face the power of evil with the purity of their will and their principles.” Men of “conscience” become overwhelmed because the “countless respectable and seductive disguises and masks in which evil approaches them make their conscience anxious and unsure until they finally content themselves with an assuaged conscience instead of a good conscience.” They must “deceive their own conscience in order not to despair.”

“Finally there are some who retreat to a “private virtuousness. Such people neither steal, nor murder, nor commit adultery, but do good according to their abilities. But … they must close their eyes and ears to the injustice around them. Only at the cost of self-deception can they keep their private blamelessness clean from the stains of responsible action in the world. In all that they do, what they fail to do will not let them rest.”

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