explanation-justifications are frequently harmful and self-serving. Moreover, these explanations of life,
while they may provide a sense of order and retribution, reinforcing the idea that everything that
happens happens for a reason, are perspectival. That means they vary based on one’s perspective, and,
more importantly, they are frequently employed to lay blame on someone - and not just blame, guilt as
One will also notice that these explanation-justifications do not attend to the multiple victims
one finds in a situation. Take childhood bullying for example. Children frequently bully because they are
insecure. This doesn’t excuse being mean to another person, but saying “that’s what you get” to a bully
after his/her victim has retaliated does not address the insecurity or hurt that bully may have
experienced that led them to their. Justifying the bad things that happen to “bad” people does not fix
any problem other than the problem of explanation, neither does calling them a bully or a bad person,
for that matter.
We must become comfortable with the inexplicable moments of life. Some things are just better
left unexplained. Seek, instead to avoid judgment, “less ye be judged.” (Matt 7:1) God calls us to end the
cycle of violence (Matt 5:38-48), that includes the violence of judgment and justification.
“When I was a child, my friend’s grandmother would comment on how bad things happen to
people because they were disobeying God. This made sense in the instance of one child getting in
trouble with the principal when they stole another child’s money. This might have even made sense
when one the church member got his/her foot stepped on while they were staring judgmentally at a
visitor who wasn’t wearing the “right clothes.” To be fair, there were limits to this justification. One time
I saw her stop herself from declaring that the reason someone’s son had died was because they had
been unfaithful to their spouse. I noticed two things about these explanation-justifications. I call them
explanation-justifications because they simultaneously try to explain what happened while asserting
that what happened should have happened based on some kind of system of logic like “you reap what
you sow” or “God don’t like ugly.”
One thing I noticed, however, about the explanation-justifications was that they were never
applied internally. When bad things happened to the grandmother, there was no rush to say, “God was
punishing me.” It was sometimes inflected to say, “God is testing me.” Or the rationale was abandoned
altogether; this bad thing happened because it happened.
When bad things happen, it is natural for people to want to understand why and how. Yet, our
Justification - Explanation
Week 1 - May 6, 2012
Dr. Hames has seen the fulfillment of Ephesians 3:20 in his life - "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." Putting action to vision in serving God, as a gifted pulpiteer with 21 glorious years in the Gospel ministry, and the more than 16 years in pastoral excellence. Rev. Dr. Charley Hames, Jr. continues to be a dedicated servant of God, and to stand as a testament to what God can do in the life of a true believer!
Week 2 - May 13, 2012
“I love track and field. I loved the long jump, and the one hundred and two hundred yard dashes. However, there was one race that I made sure for which I would train. It was the four by four relay race. Something happened to me when I would pass the baton in this race that made me pay careful attention. When I would run the middle leg of the race, I realized that the baton that I held in my hand was teaching me a major life lesson. I learned while I was in the middle of a race the baton I held could not get ahead by holding on to what was behind it. The baton began to speak to me - you can't reach what's in front of you until you let go of what's behind you.
"Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)
Week 3 - May 20, 2012
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me- the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous, Judge, will give me on the day of his return 2 Timothy 4:7-8
God doesn’t promise that life on earth will be easy, but he does promise that life on earth will be easy, but he does promise to walk with you every step of the way and bring you into glory when he returns. Stay committed to Jesus just as he is committed to you. Keep serving him in whatever he asks you to do. In the end, your commitment will be rewarded, and your reward will exceed all expectation.
Do doubts or difficult times make it hard for you to stay strong in your commitment to Jesus? How does today’s promise give you hope to endure?
Rev. Maria E. Muse is an associate minister at Trinity CME Church under the leadership of Rev. Dr. O'Neal Shyne Jr. She is a member of the Connectional CIT and Director or the CYAM Mass Choir.