Accountability, Not Justice // M-Note 4.23.2021

“This is accountability, not justice”
In one form or another, this quote was spoken by many politicians, leaders, and activists following the guilty verdict on Tuesday in the Derek Chauvin trial. The Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison explained by adding, “I would not call today’s verdict justice, however, because justice implies true restoration”.
This quote captures the tension in what happened this past week. In one sense, the guilty verdict is an important and necessary sign of progress. Derek Chauvin was held accountable for the murder of George Floyd. As one person put it, the guilty verdict is the bare minimum. But it is a bare minimum that has often been denied to black and brown people. The relief, the collective exhale, and even the celebrations that happened are a way of recognizing that this verdict was an important step forward. But it is just one step in a journey that is long from over.
Justice is the journey, and justice is not yet a reality for black people in this country. While it is important to recognize what is right about this week’s verdict, it is also critical to remember what it does not yet represent. It doesn’t represent systemic change, it isn’t a sign that racism is over, and it doesn’t fundamentally change the way policing happens in our country. This kind of significant and holistic change has to happen before one can begin to talk about justice.
Biblical justice is not when one person is held accountable for their sin. Biblical justice is when the world is finally set right, when it is restored to the way God intended it to be. Biblical justice is wholeness, a sense that the created world is as it was meant to be. God’s justice will not be realized so long as racism is present. As followers of Christ, this week’s verdict ought to strengthen our collective resolve to stand against the racism so embedded in our country. My prayer is that we would not conveniently forget this work in light of the verdict but press on in our commitment to it.
P.S. This weekend we will continue our series Finding God in the Mess by talking about how we find God in seasons of boldness. Maybe you or someone you know is standing on the precipice of a big decision that has no guarantee of success. This message is for you! Join us online any day of the week or sign up here to worship in-person at one of our physical locations. Remember to invite someone who may find this message meaningful. You can invite someone to check out our Facebook page or just send someone a note to join you wherever you plan to worship, in-person or online.

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