We stand at the threshold of Lent – the season on the church calendar in which we prepare to celebrate the greatest injustice in human history. Yes, you read that correctly – the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is the greatest injustice in human history. It is the only truly innocent man history has ever seen being punished for the guilt of ever other person that has ever been or will ever be. Really, seriously, can you think of anything more unjust?
We live in a world consumed with justice – with trying to figure out what it is and how to obtain it. Secular definitions focus on equitable application of the law, reason and morality. Biblical studies start there, but expand the definition to include caring for the poor and otherwise limited. “Social justice warriors” of recent times warp the Biblical definition away from generosity and towards punishment of the successful and accomplished, failing to understand that justice is as much about character as it is about social structures.
We all have legitimate claims to injustice – some very severe, some far less so. I know people serving life sentences for crimes that as best as I can tell they did not commit. I also know people in homes they own with multiple vehicles and huge entertainment centers that scream injustice because someone down the street has more vehicles and a bigger, better equipped home theater. They each have a claim to having been done injustice but let’s be honest, we’re going to listen to one of them a lot more than the other.
You have to decide how you want to change your life to get better results, and you have to stop blaming anyone else — not bosses, not parents, not “luck” or fate or God. You have to start looking at your problems as potential opportunities and you have to refocus your perspective on how you’ve been blessed, not how you’ve been cheated, hurt, shortchanged, or denied.
That’s incredibly powerful. Far more than you might think.
Which brings me back to that greatest of injustices. The victim thereof was not caught by surprise; He knew what was coming. As the injustice approached, He prayed that it would pass by and leave him unharmed. But He knew it could not so He prayed:
“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
In the end it was not just that Jesus suffered injustice, He submitted to it – willingly and knowingly. He focused on the good, not the bad.
This Lenten season I will not give up sweets, or booze, or something that is in the end really trivial. This Lenten season I am going to give up my grudges, my hurts, my sense of personal aggrievement. I am deeply and fully blessed – that’s what I need to focus on.