Hope for justice

In an atmosphere where we can scarcely breathe without seeing flashing headlines of atrocities, witnessing outcries of oppression and smelling rotting systems of discrimination, we find within ourselves a primal craving for that which we cannot name or grasp or keep.

University students are verbally and viciously accosted for the color of their skin, and our hearts cry out for justice. Peaceful citizens are violently and voraciously attacked for the country of their birth, and our tears mourn for justice. Hopeless families are senselessly and systematically uprooted from the uninhabitability of their homeland, and our souls beg for justice.

Despite our yearnings, the wrongs committed against countless university students can never fully be righted. Despite our longings, children will never regain the parents whom they lost to terrorism. Despite our achings, families will never return to the same homeland that they loved and knew.

Even our most sincere and most successful attempts to exact justice, as well meaning and necessary as they may be, never seem to satisfy, nor can they. No amount of revenge, no amount of reparations, no amount of restoration can satiate the calling for justice we deem and know necessary in a world infected by injustice.

We are fighting a disease too deeply ingrained to be solved of our own accord. We’ve tried for millennia, and while we have quelled the symptoms from time to time, we slowly watch injustice kill our ability to fully live. The diagnosis demands a prescription far beyond what we can provide.

But surely there is something more. Surely there is an answer to the question our innermost being demands and our altruistic lives seek to answer. Surely there is true justice to be found.

Justice demands a judge. We know this in our legal system. Rapists, murderers, child abusers and the like stand in their conviction and guilt before one who can rectify.

But as much as we desire true justice, we know that neither we nor our officials can exact it. Personal prejudice and communal corruption run too rampant for humanity's justice to be infallible. In the unmentioned recesses of our hearts, we know that something has tainted our own sense of justice as well.

In the quiet places, in the stillness of it all, we know that we are bound by something beyond our control. Our inner desire for justice beneath actions that betray us uncovers a problem that is intensely personal, yet more universally indiscriminate and callous than we care to let on, manifestations of a problem more deeply imbedded in humanity than we care to identify, lest we in the same breath admit our complete and utter inability to eradicate it: the problem of evil.

While we seek desperately to void morality as a subjective, irrelevant nonentity, we cannot avert our gaze from the ground and lock eyes with brutalized victims of racism, terrorism, and displacement without shedding a tear of compassion or empathy and deeming them casualties of evil; injustice is only the cough of the cancer that has plagued them.

Evil demands a judge, but not one of us is up to the task. Who are we to judge? What is our power to enforce the judgement we so obviously need? How can the unjust serve justice? We’ve tried to forge cells strong enough to contain it. We’ve sought to sentence it to death. We’ve given our all in movements, marches and masses to eradicate evil, and while this is a necessary fight, it ultimately proves to be an impossible one. We’ve never been able to do it, and we’ll never be able to do it on our own.

More than a judge for evil, we need a conqueror. We need someone to bind it with chains immovable. We need someone to put it in the grave and leave it there. We need someone to give us the victory we can’t win for ourselves.

Surely there is an answer. Surely there is hope for us, too. Surely the moral arc of the universe intersects both justice and mercy.

In the midst of such rampant injustice, we would do well to consider aligning our efforts for justice and our very lives as well with a Middle Eastern man who called himself the just judge, the conquering king and the merciful sacrifice. If indeed he paid the penalty for our injustice on a Roman cross, ascended from the grave in victory over death and promised to one day return to destroy evil once and for all, then we have no reason to despair. Our work is not in vain. We fight for justice in the power of him who is both just and the justifier.

In Jesus Christ, we have hope indeed.

Will Leathers is a sophomore majoring in management information systems. Will Sorrell is a senior majoring in finance. This editorial represents the views of both writers.

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