Surviving Injustice


Can we survive injustice in an unjust world?


Let’s examine what can we do when we are the victims of injustices that will not be fixed in this life.


We will examine the story of an unjust inheritance in Luke 12:13-21 and Jesus’ advice to the victim.


Wicked people praise greed (Psalm 10:1-4). Greedy people ambush their own lives (Proverbs 1:18-19), destroying their families (Proverbs 15:27). They take, but the righteous give (Proverbs 15:27). Greedy get rich quick schemes cause poverty (Proverbs 28:22). Greedy leaders destroy nations (Proverbs 29:4), look to their own gain like greedy dogs (Isaiah 56:10-11), out for dishonest gain, shedding innocent blood, oppressing and extorting (Jeremiah 22:15-17). Greedy people feast on the suffering poor (Proverbs 30:14). Religious leaders are not immune to greed and wickedness (Luke 11:37-41). Don't let the cheater’s greed ruin our lives as it has theirs (Luke 12:13-21). Greed is idolatry and cannot enter God’s kingdom (Ephesians 5:5).

Greed Destroys Capitalism

Jesus condemned greed not free-market capitalism. In its broadest sense capital includes even the shirt on our backs. Jesus condemned evil forms of capitalism, based upon greed. Venice is a case study in point. Once an affluent, free-market economy, wealthy oligarchs destroyed it by excluding the middle and poor classes from opportunity. World economies face similar self-destruction as monopolies dominate and small businesses are squeezed out. The end result is people working as poorly paid serfs to those who live in excess. There may be little difference between the greedy American CEO and the Chinese Communist party plutocrat. Greed is bad for free-market capitalism. Business monopolies can destroy a free-market. Middle classes shrink and poor people die. Greed destroys capitalism.

Surviving Injustice

An unjust inheritance. A sibling felt cheated. Wise parents are fair and create a legacy of family unity. Unwise parents create family trouble (Proverbs 15:27). Favoritism and greed over inheritance drive families apart. Life is filled with injustices in and outside the family. We can waste our lives in bitterness over wrongdoings, trying to right every grievance, and don’t leave time for living. It seems that Jesus was telling the young man to just let it go and get on with living a good life. Perhaps pursuing justice for ourselves is not always worthwhile. We don’t need to fret if others are greedy and we miss out, because a good life does not consist in an abundance of things. There is coming a day when God will set everything right (Psalm 98:9).

Being Satisfied

Have you ever prayed for God to set things right but it seems like that he said no or perhaps did not even answer? A brother received a larger portion of an inheritance. Was he manipulative? Did he not defend his younger brother against unjust parents playing favorites? Jesus’ advice was to avoid covetousness. The Greek word for covetousness is also often translated by the word greed, and means “lusting for a greater number of temporal things that go beyond what God determines is eternally best. [1] If someone has swindled us out of worldly goods, let us realize that an abundance of possessions does not define a great life. Being satisfied with what God provides is a great life.
[1] THAYER'S GREEK LEXICON, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2006, 2011 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Selfish Species Die

Recent scientific research has shown that selfish species die. [2] For a species to thrive, individuals must learn to communicate and cooperate. Like the brother who took the largest portion of the family inheritance, greed isolates us from our tribes. Community and family members withdraw their support and mutual trust is gone. Rather than living a shared life, with mutual support and protection, the greedy brother is isolated and unprotected. Covetousness is therefore self-destructive behavior. Greed estranges those who would have been there in our hour of need. It isolate us from our support mechanism. Greed destroys the world, our nation, our families and us. Even in nature, insects and sheep know instinctively that to survive they must share and cooperate.
[2] Hogenboom, Melissa. "Selfish Traits Not Favoured by Evolution, Study Shows." BBC News. N.p., 2 Aug. 2013. Web. 31 July 2016.

Greed: How Much is Too Much?

In the case of an unjust inheritance, Jesus defined greed as a desire for an abundance of things, way beyond basic necessities, storing up for selfish purposes without being rich towards God. Elsewhere, Jesus taught that if we have two coats, give one to the poor and he encouraged one rich young man to sell everything and give it to the poor. Yet others of his followers were quite wealthy. It’s not the amount that we own, but our attitude towards it. Wealth deceives us. The more we have the more we think we need and the more covetous we can become. At what level would you divest yourself of wealth and find ways to give most of it away?

Good Coveting

Covet simply means desire. Desire is only wrong when we lust after what is not ours. The 10th Commandment deals with lust. Coveting what does not belong to us leads to lies, murder, theft, adultery, etc. Jesus addressed the folly of covetousness in the story of the unjust inheritance and the parable of the greedy farmer. A brother was unjustly treated in a family inheritance. We don’t need to lust after what others have rightly or wrongly gotten. It is also the case with the farmer and his barnyard retirement plan. Let us not trust in selfish preparations but in God. Covet the best gifts (spiritual) and pursue the real purpose of life, to love (1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13).


Not every injustice will be fixed in this life. Jesus tells us that those who treat us unjustly only hurt themselves and their families. He encourages us that being satisfied with our lot in life and creates a far better life than all the ill gotten gains of unjust people.