Scripture Focus: Psalm 37.1-6
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.

Reflection: Justice Starts Within
By John Tillman 

We often experience evil that is external to ourselves and acts upon us. This evil, whether the direct actions of humans or not, is a reflection and repercussion of individual and collective sin.

Christianity simultaneously holds an extraordinarily high view of human nature and an extraordinarily low view. Humans are “gods,” Jesus quotes (John 10.34-36; Psalm 82.6) and just lower than the angels. (Hebrews 2.5-8; Psalm 8.5) Yet, we are also rebellious and broken. Evil infects and corrupts our best intentions. (Romans 3.10-12; Psalms 14.1-3; 53.1-3; Ecclesiastes 7.20) Creation itself is cursed because of our sin. (Genesis 3.17; Romans 8.20-23) At the peak of human righteousness, we stand dressed in filth rather than finery. (Romans 3.10; Isaiah 64.6; Psalm 143.2)

If evil were just a few regrettable actions by a few misguided people, we’d be “god” enough to handle it. We could just “do better,” as many voices on social media tell us to do, and lock up the “bad apples” who fail this charge.

The problem with evil is that it is not isolated in bad apples. Evil is insidiously embedded in humanity. Solzhenitsyn said, “The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” Paul said, “I want to do good, evil is right there with me…who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7.21-25)

Justice must start within. Jesus confronts our tainted hearts, comforting us when suffering under wickedness while simultaneously discomforting us by attacking our wickedness. Christ delivers us from an inner evil nature through sanctification. (Luke 11.20-22) If we allow him to, he will go beyond destroying the evil piece of our heart. He will give us a brand new heart that will grieve injustice and work for justice, both inwardly and outwardly. 

We join our voices and bend our backs to the suffering and working of all God’s people for justice. (Revelation 6.9-11) There is evil without and evil within, but greater is Jesus than any evil. (1 John 4.4) God is with us through any suffering and his grace to us is sufficient to work in and through us. 

As the Holy Spirit within us contests our inner evils, he also spurs us to act in Christ’s name on behalf of justice against evils that go beyond personal or individual. Justice starts within. It doesn’t stop there.

May we answer the call, becoming agents of Christ, seeking out darkness and shining a light of justice and truth.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
I will call upon God, and the Lord will deliver me.
God, who is enthroned of old, will hear me. — Psalm 55.17, 20

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

​Today’s Readings
Proverbs 7 (Listen 2:21)
Psalm 37 (Listen 4:21)

​Today’s Readings
Proverbs 8 (Listen 3:26Psalm 38 (Listen 2:14)
Proverbs 9 (Listen 1:50Psalm 39 (Listen 1:49)

Read more about Hope for Marred Pots
God, understanding Jeremiah’s grief, sends him to a place he can see that there is hope for marred and broken things—the potter’s house.

Read more about Pause To Read
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