First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me. Dietrich Bonhoeffer


We see injustice all the time – it surrounds us each day, in the lives of those we pass by or those we walk alongside. What do we do when we injustice? Do we speak out? In a society obsessed with the individual and material gain, it’s easy to overlook the plight of others.

image credit: Jeremy Brooks.


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3 thoughts on “Injustice”

  1. I’m often dragged back to this by listening to sermons preached in our church. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in what’s going on in your own life but as I was reminded recently, all Jesus ever did was preach social justice. He hung out with those in society at the time who were troubled, different and rejected by others. The sermon on the mount was a clarion call for justice care and compassion. Is this perhaps the ‘gold standard’ to aspire to? Sometimes it’s difficult to speak out against a huge tide of opposition, but when we try, individually, it can make a difference when our voices are added together. Civil rights all over the world are being improved by people speaking out and making a difference. I sense a growing groundswell of unease and unrest at the unfairness of our current political and social climate, and maybe we do need to consider this home- grown unfairness before it really overtakes us all. Just as in the famous quote you posted.

    1. It isn’t my place to talk about our current political climate, but I will say this: Bonhoeffer was a great mind tragically cut short by one of the darkest times in world history. Tragic, as many other great German theologians managed to escape Nazi Germany in the early 1930’s for other, more liberal or tolerant societies. It’s understandable to equate him with liberation theology or indeed social justice, but Bonhoeffer was quite outspoken about a Christian’s role in politics – “Politics are not the task of a Christian”. At the risk of being seen as a revisionist theologian, I would say he spent much of his time talking about the true meaning of discipleship. I don’t think this is the same thing as social justice. I would contend that Jesus spent his time explaining what our relationship with God ought to be.

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