Justice in Baltimore

Justice in Baltimore?

It has never before happened in the history of Major League Baseball—two teams playing a regular-season game in an empty stadium. It’s not that and estimated 30,000 fans didn’t want to watch from the stands as the Baltimore Orioles scored six runs off of the Chicago White Sox in the first inning. Instead, unrest in Baltimore led to a state of emergency in which officials determined that gathering a crowd might create safety concerns.

How did we get to the place where such an unprecedented decision had to be made?

Certainly, we have strong indicators that Freddie Gray was treated unjustly and that such injustice is symptomatic of a larger problem. At the same time, pummeling police officers with rocks, burning cars, and looting stores doesn’t exactly even the score. Injustice, it seems, begets injustice, and the cumulative effect begets an empty Camden Yard.

If ever there was a champion of true justice to walk this earth, it was Jesus Christ. The more I learn about the Son of Man, the more I find myself deeply moved by His amazing character. As I watch the rioting and looting unfold in Baltimore, I can’t help but think we need a lot more of His influence.

Not only did Jesus have the courage to stand against injustice—even when ingrained in the religious establishment—He viewed each and every situation without personal bias. I’m not sure that many of us realize how elusive unbiased objectivity can actually be.

“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 5:30 (NASB)

In short, Jesus could not—or would not—be bought. No amount of money could taint His judgment. No lust for power could corrupt His soul. No personal dream could drive His passion. No earthly kinship could cloud His vision. How I wish more of us could be more like Him.

I have a wide array of friends across religious, political, and racial boundaries, and I can’t help but notice the trends that I see on many of their social media posts. There are always exceptions, of course, but for the most part, personal biases are all too prevalent.

Many whites simply don’t realize the plight that blacks face even in modern America. Racial profiling is a sad reality that continues to plague our nation. Thus, it’s a huge mistake to judge black struggles through white eyes.

At the same time, black racism is by no means in short supply. (Sometimes I think that the only real difference is who happens to have the greatest hold on power at a given time.) Blacks who champion only black causes tend to make matters worse by marginalizing other races, thereby adding fuel to a simmering cauldron of contempt.

In a truly just world—one without personal bias—government authorities would treat all people equally regardless of race, title, or social standing. In a truly just world, no one race would be exalted above another, meaning also that none would be viewed with contempt. In a truly just world, there would be peace and good will.

True justice is blind, being entirely objective and without personal bias. In this sense, Jesus Christ was the most just person to ever walk this earth. It is Christ’s kingdom that we champion because it rises far above the dysfunctional tendencies of our human governments.

In the meanwhile, while we have the opportunity, let us emulate Christ’s example by limiting our personal biases as we seek to view others apart from fleshly human standards. We each have the potential to make a huge difference as we, person by person, do our part.

Thankfully, there are those in Baltimore who are peacefully making a difference. Sadly, they’re being virtually ignored by the media. (Perhaps rioting is better for TV ratings?)

If we truly want justice in Baltimore, it must begin with each of us pursuing truth without bias regardless of where we happen to live. Otherwise, we’d better get used to watching professional sports only from a distance.

James G. Howes , via Wikimedia Commons