Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I'm saying "No" to Social Justice

I see that there are terrible things going on in the world today and there is a part of me that sympathizes, but I'm still just all outta care...and that's ok.

"Compassion fatigue" is a term used to refer to people whose compassion is worn out; the demands on their care surpassed their means to continue caring and/or coping. It's not that they don't care, they just can't. It was a term first applied to doctors and nurses who worked in the Great War; they had so many continual tragic demands hacking away at their compassion that at some point they just stopped, they went cold. It is an innate coping mechanism, a means of survival engrained in our psyche.

I was so heavily involved in activism for social justice for years and what I once called a "pause on passion", I now know is compassion fatigue. Part of me wants to care more than I do, perhaps that is an old guilt hanging on telling me what I should be feeling, but mostly I just don't yet feel that I can care. But I've learned that it's not something I can choose anyway, either I have the grace to do it or I don't and the only way I attain that grace is by receiving it from God. Some might call it a "calling", some might call it "favor" or "anointing"; right now I'm calling it grace and Grace gives you the freedom to say, "No."

And I wonder if that's where so many people have run into walls. I wonder if thats why activism for social justice has had such trouble sustaining its cause, because people have not had the freedom to say "No."

There has never really been an option to say "No" to someone who is flaunting injustice in your face; you either say, "Yes" and you're all in or you say, "Yes" and you fade with the hype or you say, "Yes" and you lie to not appear like an asshole, but at the end of the day you will say "Yes."

Because here's what is not often being said, "Pray and ask God if you should...because if He wills you to then He enables you to...He gives you the grace to do it." No, instead what's often been said is, "You should...How can you not?!...How can you just sit there?!..."

So many people have been shamed and guilt-tripped into action. And yes it is a noble cause, but by ungodly means. We took away people's freedom to say "No", eliminated the necessary grace from the equation, and now the cause is filled with people lacking the grace to sustain it or sustain themselves; we manipulated empty people into an industry of emptying; we forced the hand of broken people to serve and care for the most broken of our age.

Does God care for widows and orphans, the sojourners and the oppressed and does He want us to be a part of His plan to heal and restore and free??- ABSOLUTELY! But more than He ever wants you to do, He wants you to be. He wants you to be healed, to be restored, and to be free. You cannot give what you have not received.

I know now why I ran out on compassion, because I never calculated His grace into my giving equation; the answer to any need was always "Yes." God does not corner us into action, He gently takes us by the hand, working in us and with us and through us to grace soaked action IF AND ONLY IF He has purpose for us there.

If God hasn't given you the "thumbs up", then whatever grace you do have is going to run out. And He'll probably let you hang out on empty until you realize you need to turn to Him, in which case, He'll also probably show you how He never gave you the go ahead and He'll turn it around and redeem it all for you because He is a Good and Loving and Faithful God. But, if you can spare yourself from that emptying, it'd be in your best interest to just turn to Him and ask if you should say, "Yes" or if you should say, "No." Because sometimes He is saying "No" and if you are saying, "Yes" while God is saying, "No" then it will not go well for you nor will it go particularly well for the poor souls you are attempting to rescue or reach.

I have seen a lot of people in the industry of social justice who have no business being there and I'm watching so many people running off into the field beyond activism whom I fear for. Let me tell you something, I thought it was my calling to be there and I found I have no business being there; there are elements of my story, there are God-given parts of me and parts of my make up that prevent me from being in that kind of environment and being able to stay a healthy human being- I am not designed nor am I cut out for that kind of work, but most of all I have no business being there because He said, "No" and so I'm saying, "No." And maybe one day that will change, maybe it won't, but it won't ever happen without His "Yes" and without the grace that follows that affirmative.

This doesn't just go for social justice, it applies to EVERYTHING that we do and attempt to do. No, it's not a no brainer. No, it's not an automatic, "Yes." I highly recommend turning the word "should" into your God trigger where you look at Him to see whether or not He is nodding or shaking His head. You aren't invincible. He's created us with needs because we need Him. We are needy beings and it's okay. It's not only okay to say, "No", but sometimes it's necessary, just check with Him and trust He has YOUR best interests at heart as well as those on the other end.