Awhile back, I listened to a podcast by an Australian guy named Martin Iles. I forget what he was talking about specifically in that particular show, but he brought up Isaiah 59 and it resounded with something inside of me that I had struggled to put into words. I have blogged before about how sometimes the most compassionate thing we can do is speak the truth, but Isaiah 59 takes it even further. In the passage it makes a very clear correlation between truth, justice and peace, and everything in me breathes a sigh of agreement. It is a long passage so I will try to shorten it a bit without paraphrasing it.
Isaiah 59 starts out by saying that no one cares about being honest, their activity is filled with sin, violence is their trademark and their feet run to do evil. Misery and destruction always follow them. They do not know where to find peace, they have mapped out crooked roads, and no one who follows them knows a moment’s peace. The passage goes on to say, “Therefore, there is no justice among us… Even at brightest noontime, we stumble as though it were dark… Our courts oppose the righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found. Truth stumbles in the streets, and honesty has been outlawed. Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked… The Lord looked and was displeased to find there was no justice.”
Sometimes it’s amazing how the words can jump right off the page, like they were written for today. (Don’t worry, I know they were actually written for today =)
But for real, how relevant is this passage?! If you stop for even a minute and think about the connection between truth, justice, and peace, it’s easy to see. The correlation might be most obvious in our court system. A verdict is a decision based on truth or facts, without which, justice cannot be served. Without justice, the victim, or victim’s family, experience no peace. I might ruffle some feathers here, if you want sources to back up anything I’m about to say, feel free to ask and I will send them to you. But let’s try applying this train of thought to current world issues: Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Jacob Blake, there are so many more. What if the lamestream media wasn’t so lame, and actually only reported facts? What if they refrained from reporting on things until they had the facts? Would the reactions to these cases have been as violent had the public known the whole story? The true story? I don’t think so. When people demand justice for a false truth, they will never get it. Justice for Jacob Blake, based on the facts, is life in prison. Period. I personally am not mourning his loss of mobility from the waist down. But, back to the point, how can we expect peace if we cannot possibly give people the justice they think they deserve based on “facts” that aren’t rooted in truth?
How about we try applying this to a theory, or an ideology? Take Critical Race Theory, or white privilege/guilt for instance. I could easily have a dialogue with you about how these ideas are not based on the Word and how they actually contradict what we see in the Word, but for now, just play along. Let’s pretend like when the country started talking about white privilege, inherent racism, and Critical Race Theory, instead of the church taking a knee and admitting guilt to sins that weren’t theirs, we stood up and said “No, those are ideas not based in truth.” The truth is, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). The truth is that we are already reconciled. The truth is most Americans are not racist and are ashamed of that part of our history. The truth is that I am responsible for my sins and my sins alone, which by the way, have been paid for. Critical Race theory redefines sin, redemption, and reconciliation (John L. Cooper has a fantastic podcast on this if you are interested). These ideas cause more division than unity. What if we hadn’t sought peace over truth? What if we recognized that appeasement is not a form of love? Is it possible that America wouldn’t be in quite the mess we are in today? Is it possible that by caving to the demands of the blind, we sentenced ourselves to a reality where we are stumbling around in the dark, looking for light in a world where, “truth is gone and anyone who renounces evil is attacked?”
I don’t know how to explain it better. I believe that the world is waiting for justice, in so many different situations, that will never come, simply because their offense is not based in truth. Until we are brave enough to speak truth to the lies, we will not see peace. Peace requires justice and justice requires truth and truth has to be spoken. Ironically, both in court and in church, this is called testifying. Until the world knows the truth, they will continue seeking their idea of justice, and when it never comes, peace will continue to elude us all.