If you have, I'm guessing you felt something like I did in elementary school.
I remember my third grade teacher for one thing and one thing alone; the day she took the points board (which kept the total of all the points we had accumulated as a class for doing good deeds/behaving well/etc.) and she put a giant zero on it. When we came in the next day, we were all confused about what happened. I wondered if it was April Fool's Day, but it was after April 1st. Anyways it would've been a pretty mean joke.. My teacher told me that kids hadn't behaved while heading to the bus the previous afternoon, so she took the points away. I was always picked up from school, so I wasn't there to see whatever happened.
If you don't know me, I'm a seriously honest person. By which I mean if something is on my mind, I'll let you know. I suppose this is a good thing; the bible does tell us that "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3) and what are children if not utterly honest? At times people find it rude though, because most of the time the truth really does hurt. So anyways you can imagine I gave the teacher a hard time. Considering that at least a handful of students weren't even involved in the situation, as I wasn't the only one who didn't take the bus. How could she punish all of us for something only some of us did?
This was the story of my elementary experience. Teachers typically dealt with problems occurring between more than two students by punishing the whole class. It bothered me so much that I sat in class daily contemplating how to make things fair, so that every kid won the same prizes and only those in the wrong were punished. I wanted to be a teacher so kids didn't have to experience the injustice I was facing. Okay, I'm slightly over-dramatic. Let's keep in mind people are starving around the world and in our own country before I go on about the injustices of elementary school, the most pleasant place on earth.
Well I grew up, my dreams of being a teacher grew into being a pediatric surgeon and I realized that no matter how many rules I put into place I couldn't make the world fair. Much later I realized, too, that we really haven't done anything to make us deserve fairness, so I began to accept things the way that they are. I even forgave the teacher's who were had punished me with the rest of the class, realizing that it would be hard to punish only the people who had done something wrong. Then I heard a reading from Genesis 18 at church:
20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.” 22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” 26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” 27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?” “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it." 9 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?” He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.” 30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?” He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?” He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.” 32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?" He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.” 33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.
The verse hit me like a wrecking ball because it completely contradicted my thoughts. It really was wrong to punish the righteous along with the wicked even if the group is made up of all wicked but one. Take that, teachers that feel otherwise. Okay, so I do admit it would still be hard for people to pick out only the wrong people and never punish people who hadn't misbehaved along with them. Not to mention, we all do bad things here and there (and sometimes get away with it) so I suppose it somewhat evens out in the end. More than anything, I like this verse because it shows how patient our God is, and that he always answers. Even as Abraham continues to persist and doubt that God will save the righteous, he answers calm and dignified.
Social justice is a pretty important part of my life and the lack of government funding received by pediatric cancer research is one such issue that is really on my heart. All cancer patients should have adequate treatment options, and that's not the case for many who suffer from pediatric cancers. The good thing though is that Tying Up Cancer isn't alone in the fight. We're working to partner with Gold in September (G9) which is an organization uniting forces between pediatric cancer awareness groups so that changes are more likely to occur. I encourage you to check out their website and join in the fight. The idea for the G9 came from 11 year old Annie who lost her twin brother to cancer. You can watch the video they've created here. I would also ask that you like them on Facebook (and if you haven't liked Tying Up Cancer on Facebook yet you better get on that!; there's a little "f" at the top you can click on to go to our page) so that you can be updated about ways to get involved and people who are trying to change the fate of many cancer patients.
Take a stand and show that you know the righteous shouldn't be punished; 1 in 5 children should not die from cancer because the government and pharmaceutical companies don't care to fund research. Buy a shirt, buy a bracelet, or make a donation. But whatever you do, don't be one among those who feel injustice is okay.