Gut Check Injustice
Scripture: Judges 3:12-30
Fred Rogers pitched his television show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” to public television, in part, because at the time he “hated” television as a medium. Rogers once remarked, “I got into television because I saw people throwing pies at each other’s faces, and that to me was such demeaning behavior. And if there’s anything that bothers me, it’s one person demeaning another. That really makes me mad!”
Fred Rogers was concerned a post-WWII generation of children would grow up disconnected from their emotions. He could have gone into writing children’s books or some other medium he found more to his liking. Rogers also could have become a staunch opponent to television. Instead, he lived out the wisdom teaching “the best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better.” Fred Rogers, a committed Christian, dropped out of seminary and began a career in television which would ultimately shape generations of children.
Judges were raised up by God to confront oppression and deliver their people from systemic evil. The way God’s spirit animated each judge’s life plays out a bit different in all of their stories. Ehud confronts the Moabite King Eglon. I imagine him as someone akin to the Star Wars gangster Jabba The Hut. Ehud devises a plan involving slight of hand and great risk. He will attempt a bold and violent plot to strike deep into the heart (or rather gut) of King Eglon. Under the guise of having secret business Ehud and King Eglon are left alone. As King Eglon rises to learn of this secret he realizes to late that the secret is his assassination.
I prefer Fred Rogers’ non-violent response to detrimental influences. Nevertheless, Ehud’s violent response to gut check injustice still involves lots of creativity and daring. While Ehud deceptively confronts and kills the source of oppression, he is granted access to do so, because he had become part of the system. He uses this position to foment revolution and upheaval. How does God call us to confront injustice today? How can we faithfully and daringly be used by God to make a difference? How might you live out the principle: ‘the best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better’?