I seem to usually start a book review saying whether I enjoyed the book or not, and I can’t in all honesty say that I ‘enjoyed’ this book, but it was necessary and eye-opening and quite frankly a must-read.
So the fact that I didn’t ‘enjoy’ it should not put you off from reading – I give this book 5/5 stars and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in a Christian perspective of injustice, I would potentially go so far as to say it should be necessary reading – it really helped me to recognise that our lives as Christians are destined for the purpose of freeing people from oppression.
Recommended by our vicar as our church is now partnered with IJM (International Justice Mission – the author is the founder and CEO), I wanted to read this book to find out some more about why this partnership is so vital.
“Because only a handful of Christians are cognizant of the crisis of modern-day slavery, little is accomplished.”
I’m not going to lie, it has taken me a couple of months to read, some parts were so brutal that I had to take a step back from reading for a little while and come back to it. And the thing that horrified me most about that was that I was just reading about it but people lived through it – everything written in this book comes from a real situtation, and situations like those we read about are still happening all over the world.
The author was sent to Rwanda by the UN in the aftermath of the genocide, and that changed the course of his life. I had of course heard of the Rwandan genocide, but I had never truly appreciated the scale and the horror of it, and quite honestly, I sat on the train crying while reading this part of the book, and many others.
I made so many highlights on my kindle as I read this book that I can’t share them all as you might as well just read the book (which I would highly recommend), but I’ll share the quotes that stood out most to me and why and hopefully that will give you a glimpse into the book and make you want to go get it for yourself.
“This is the essence of Edmund Burke’s conviction about human history: ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’.”
It seems to me that sometimes the truth about what is going on in the world can paralyze us into inaction; the ‘bad’ seems so big that we think that there’s no way we can possibly stop it, so we do nothing. But as Haugen says in the book:
“The good samaritan was good not because he was able to meet all of the hurting man’s needs but because he had mercy on the man and cared for him, and then referred him to someone else who could help him.”
Just because we can’t fix everything, we can still help. Whether that is by working directly with those affected, contributing financially to those who do, or just by talking about the injustices of the world so that people are aware, there is a role we can all play in restoring justice to a broken world.
“The biblical mandate to seek justice and rescue the oppressed is an integral and magnificent theme of the Christian heritage.”
“Moreover, we can be restored to the conviction that God is prepared to use us to ‘seek justice, rescue the opressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow‘ (Isaiah 1:17).”
We can’t really hide from the fact our God is a God of justice and that he will use us to intervene for the opressed and set them free – “For even as we celebrate the coming of Christ into the world, in Scripture we are powerfully reminded of the kind of world into which he has come.” We know that we live in a broken and fractured world, but “from the word of God we learn that God’s plan for seeking justice in the world is to use his people to work acts of love and rescue. “
In essence, the “Good News About Injustice” is that we don’t have to just sit and wait for God to come and free the world from oppression, and neither are we on our own to fix the problems ourselves. We are called to work in partnership with God and go where he sends us to pray, give, tell, or work in the places and situations where we are needed and pursue a biblical mandate of setting the oppressed free.
“If we had to see it and hear it every day like our God does, we would hate it too.”
“Hope displaces hopelessness.”
“God is in the business of using the unlikely to perform the holy.”
I’ll finish with a link to the IJM website if you have read this review and want to find out more about the fantastic work that they do – we’ve been lucky to have had them come and talk to us a couple of times at our church and their work is vital.