Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: Deterring Wickedness
- What is your prayer about next year’s election?
- What are you doing, in the words of MLK, to act as if the answer to that prayer depended on us and not on God?
- When have you been able to hold someone accountable for their actions–and did it change future behavior?
- What is the relationship between privilege and the ability to “forgive and forget” harm done broadly?
For the wicked are found among my people. They lie in wait like hunters; destroyers, they catch humans. They know no limits in deeds of wickedness; they do not judge with justice the cause of the orphan, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy. – Jeremiah 5:26, 28b-29 (NRSV)
A year from today will be the day after Election Day. God willing, we will know decisively who our President-elect is.
God help us all if stochastic terrorism and nascent fascism win the day. They will have an opportunity to cement their power in our political and military structures, and sink democracy at the bottom of the swamp.
If the victor is someone more moderate, there will be the inevitable calls to move on from this polarizing political decade. To forgive and forget happenings like:
- children separated from their migrant parents at the border, then lost
- women and queer people denied bodily autonomy and safety
- people of color robbed of their civil rights and voting power
- low-income people driven into greater poverty
- a world order imperiled by braggadocious lips and monetized state secrets
- violence incited against everyone deemed “the enemy”
- a climate crisis not only denied but supercharged by greed.
The Hebrew prophets, like Jeremiah, had a long memory. Their job was not to forget but to remember, vividly. Remembering and reminding made sure the people did as well, to deter future wickedness.
God, give us a long memory, and the will to hold evildoers accountable for their actions, even if it means living through it all a little longer.
Rev. Molly Baskette is the lead pastor of First Church Berkeley UCC and the author of books about church renewal, parenting, spiritual growth and more. Sign up for her author newsletter or get information about her newest book at mollybaskette.com.