Ask Away Podcast

What Does Biblical Justice Look Like?

Nov 14, 2018

The news, our social media feeds, and our own stories are full of injustices. But where is God in all of this? How can a good or just God permit these wrongs? How does the social justice movement line up with the Bible? Drs. Vince and Jo Vitale, and Pippa Shaper (co-founder of Home from Home, a child protection non-profit) discuss listener-submitted questions on justice, suffering, and God’s involvement in it all.

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Vince Vitale - @VinceRVitale
Jo Vitale - @Joanna_Vitale
Michael Davis - @mdav1979


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Transcript



Note: Ask Away is produced to be heard, not read. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

Michael Davis: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Ask Away, with Vince and Jo Vitale. I am your host, Michael Davis. There are so many different perspectives on justice, that it is often times difficult to discern where biblical justice starts, and where our culture's secularized version of it begins. The fact that we are all made in the image of God makes us all justice seeking creatures, but for many Christians there is a misunderstanding between fighting for justice as an end, in itself, and pursuing first the kingdom of God.

But, before we get started, I am excited to announce that we have joining us in our studios, Pippa Shaper, of Home from Home Ministries in South Africa. Pippa could you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and your ministry?

Pippa Shaper: Thank you, yeah. I'm British as you can probably hear by my accent.

Vince Vitale: We're outnumbered Michael.

Michael Davis: I was hoping to hear a nice little Afrikaans accent or something…

Jo Vitale: We're beating out the odds!

Pippa Shaper: I can't do that. I've been living in South Africa for the last 26 years, so my husband, who is South African, and I moved to South Africa when the referendum happened in '92, after Mandela had been released, and we were looking at, was the country going to go towards democracy? And we said if it was going to go to democracy we'd give it a try and go back for a year. Here I am, 26 years later, I still live there. That's what happens. I first became involved when we decided to stay about 24 years ago.

I decided to get involved, I couldn't be a mom sitting back on the sidelines, just seeing what was going on: a country of immense poverty, immense difficulties. That was the beginning of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa. Where children were dying on a daily basis, people were dying. There were no antiviral treatments available at that time. I started working in a children's home looking after AIDS orphans. They had been orphaned by AIDS, and they were HIV positive themselves.

Children were dying on a daily basis. It was more of a hospice than a children's home. When ARVs then became available about the turn of the millennium, about 2000, we saw that children were now going to be able to live a normal length of life. And saying, well, what is the best place for them to be living? The best place is not in a big institutionalized children's home with 80, 100, 120 kids.

We started taking children out of the children's home and putting them into small family homes. A normal house on a normal street, with no more than 6 children living with a foster mom. We saw just how well that worked. It was much better for the children being able to form a bond with one particular caregiver, rather than shift workers coming in and out. Being able to not be stigmatized, of going to be able to walk to school with their friends, being able to play with their friends afterwards, not being driven to school on a bus with "Children's Home" written on the side of it.

Not having a sign on the outside of the house that they lived in. We saw how well it worked and wanted to do more of that. In 2005 Jane Pane and myself, she's a social worker, moved away from the children's home and started up exactly that model of care. Of a normal house and a normal street with a foster mom, or where possible, foster mom and dad, together, looking after 6 children.

So, today we have now got 36 homes around the Western Cape with nearly 200 children. We're helping children and organizations in other areas of the country, indeed, and into Southern Africa now, starting up their own homes, as well, using our model of care so that more and more children can have families created for them. Because, I think we all know that families are not just the normal "mommy and a daddy get married and have two children." That's a luxury for a lot of us. And, for other people, we create families. And families can be made from people through love.

Jo Vitale: It makes me think of that verse, "God sets the lonely in families," and how much you are just practically living that out. Gosh, you must just have so many stories of these different children that you've come to know. Could you just tell us just one story about just one of the kids in your home.

Pippa Shaper: There are so many of them. I'm only going to tell you one, a very new one. A little boy called Eddie, who's just come in to one of our homes. We got a call from social services asking if we could take in a child who's not in a shelter. Eddie was born to a mum. Eddie's not his real name by the way. We never identify our children. Eddie had been born to a mum who was really not fit and able to able to look after him.

She was on the streets a lot, substance abusing and really not able to care, so she gave her child to a caregiver. And I use that in inverted com, as a caregiver. A lady who looked after nine children in two shacks out of the back of her house. When social services were called by neighbors to say there's something really wrong going on here, the children living in these shacks were very badly malnourished. They were extremely cold. They were diseased. And the children were removed immediately from her care.

Eddie was taken into a baby sanctuary for immediate emergency place of safety care. He was four and half years old, but the size of a two year old because of the malnourishment that he'd had as a little one. But, with this amazingly buoyant spirit. What was interesting to see, was when his mom, biological mom, came to visit, how he shrank away from her, which was obviously... You can imagine the abuse that he suffered at her hands, to be able to be so fearful of her.

We were asked to take in Eddie as a one to one of our foster homes. And luckily, we had just opened a new home, so we had some spaces available. Because, if we don't have space, we can't take any more kids in.

Vince Vitale: Right.

Pippa Shaper: So, we had spaces available. Our foster mom, Abby, and her husband, Daniel, weren't able to have their own children, so they were very keen to take in little children who they could really bring up as their own. They went and visited Eddie in the children's home. And had some visits with him, got his photo. They saw his photo, so they got to know their new child and Eddie got to know who his new mom and dad were going to be. On that day that they went to court to be placed, Eddie ran straight up to Abby and climbed onto her lap, and sat there for the duration of the court precedings, and then went home with this huge smile on his face, because he's now got a mommy and daddy.

This is the first time he's ever had a dad in his life. And the bond has just been incredibly quick. I think one of the things we look at this happy little boy, living in a family, with other foster children, and with his mom and dad, and we think, okay, happy, picture solved, that's all good. But, it's really not. Because, what we often see is that children who've had this huge injustice in the start of their lives, with abuse and what they've suffered, they can appear to be fine when they're two, three, four ears old. Wait til their 12, 11, 13 ... That's when the wheels start falling off.

That's where it's so important that the work that we do in home from home, with our team of social workers, the therapists who we work with, a child psychologist, to be able to put that work into each child's life early so that we're doing everything that we can to be able to build them into independent, young adults, able to go out into the world successfully, holding down relationships and a job. And not to carry that damage that has happened so early in their lives, for it to be as healed as possible.

Jo Vitale: So, Pippa's ministry, Home from Home, is one of the homes that's supported from Wellspring International.

Pippa Shaper: Yeah. Well Wellspring has supported us from the beginning. I was so fortunate to meet Naomi in 2004, when Jane and I were just thinking about starting Home from Home. So, Wellspring has been a loyal partner. Wellspring are not a donor, they are our partner. We have a true partnership relationship with them, where we feel that we can be completely honest about what's going on. You know, even when we've not done things right, we can share that. So, it really has been the most amazing partnership.

Jo Vitale: That's amazing.

Pippa Shaper: ... throughout those years. Right from the beginning.

Jo Vitale: That's so great. For those of you who don't know, Wellspring International is the humanitarian arm of RZIM, and it's headed up by Naomi Zacharias and ... Just listening to your stories I'm so thankful that this is one of the ministries that we're partnering with.

Pippa Shaper: Absolutely.

Jo Vitale: So, thank you for all that you're doing.

Pippa Shaper: Thank you.

Jo Vitale: We're really pleased to have you here today.

Michael Davis: Let's get into the first question. This question is from Shantiqua Marshall. What is God's justice? And what does that look like? In a nutshell, I realized that on my disconnect with God is due to the fact that, when I needed him most, I felt like he wasn't there for me. And those who hurt me went on with no recourse or just a slap on the wrist. This foundation from my childhood has led me to become increasingly angry, resentful, and becoming bitter with forgiveness being hard for me to do. Without getting to the bottom of this, I don't know if I can have a true relationship with God. Your response would be helpful, as well as pointing me to any scripture I can study on.

Pippa Shaper: So, Shantiqua, I really ... I feel your pain in that. I think of our children, of the injustice that's been done to them. In the foundations of their childhood, and see how that could ... yeah, lead to a lifetime of unforgiveness. I think one of the things I've learned through my journey. My journey's not as yours is, but I've had a lot of loss in my life. I've lost two of my four children, my first husband, my sister, my mom. We have a choice in our life. Every single one of us has a choice as to letting what's happened to us in our lives about the effect that it has on you. I'm incredibly fortunate, nobody's done anything to me in my life. Death happens. There's no blame. But, when people have done things to you in your life, you can feel right to feel really aggrieved.

Yet, when we carry that unforgiveness around with us, we're carrying a poison that is still affecting us in our lives. Those people, the perpetrators, are still victimizing you when you're carrying that around. There's an amazing book by Desmond Tutu, called Book of Forgiveness.

Jo Vitale: Yes.

Pippa Shaper: That has been incredibly helpful to a lot of people I know, looking at forgiveness. And Desmond Tutu is so involved with restorative justice after Apartheid. Looking at helping so many people look at how we can truly forgive others in our life. That's a book that I could very practically point you towards, reading about forgiveness.

Jo Vitale: Yeah. When you look at it at that sort of national level, of what took place in South Africa, and, obviously, the devastation and the wounds of a nation ... Could you speak, Pippa, a little bit more to how you saw that reconciliation played out. How did people work through that on a sort of social scale? Because, it's both the big picture, but also the individual as well. How do you even begin a process like that?

Pippa Shaper: Yeah. Looking at forgiveness on a big scale, it's extraordinary to see a whole nation trying to move towards that. We're not completely there. I'd be totally lying if I said that we were there. There's so much damage done. There was so much damage done in so many years that that doesn't get healed quickly. That's not a quick sticking plaster. That will take generations, generations to heal.

I was talking this weekend about a young women called Amy Biehl. I don't know if you know her stories. Amy Biehl was an American young lady working in one of the townships in South Africa. Gosh, probably, long ago. 26 years ago, longer than that. She was living and working, doing mission work in one of the townships, and she was murdered by people who she was there to help. Her parents founded a foundation. They forgave her killers and founded a foundation to carry on the work that Amy was doing, which is still going to this day in one of the townships. Her former perpetrators were forgiven, and the murderers came to work in the project.

Michael Davis: Wow.

Pippa Shaper: It was the most unbelievable restoration that you can imagine.

Jo Vitale: Wow.

Pippa Shaper: We saw also the Saint James massacre. I don't know if you remember that. Saint James Church, where I went for many years, one Sunday evening service, and armed gunmen came in and shot and killed a lot of people, sitting in a congregation on a Sunday. The church came out, absolutely, at that time, at the beginning, and forgave the killers of the people and the perpetrators. It's still incredible to me how people can forgive like that.

Jo Vitale: Yeah.

Pippa Shaper: It's superhuman.

Jo Vitale: Yeah.

Vince Vitale: I think that's exactly the right word.

Michael Davis: Yeah I was going to say the same thing.

Vince Vitale: It is. It's superhuman. It's supernatural. Shantiqua, you asked about if there's a place to point in scripture, and the first places I was thinking were just simple statements in scripture. Colossians 3 says "forgive as the Lord forgave you", and then Ephesians 4 as well talks about forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you. I think this is part of that superhuman freedom that Pippa has spoken of. If we truly understand the forgiveness that we have received, that is what empowers us to be able to forgive others in even the most difficult of circumstances.

So, as I look back on your question, one thing I would suggest, you talk about forgiveness being hard and then you say, "Without getting to the bottom of this, I don't know if I can have true relationship with God," I just want to suggest that maybe it's the other way around. Maybe it's by accepting the forgiveness of God in your own life, and affirming that relationship in a deep way, that that might be what empowers you to be able to forgive.

I think if we try to figure out forgiveness on our own, in our own human strength, hoping that will get us to God, that's going to be a tough uphill battle. But, if we receive the gift of God's forgiveness, we find that that empowers us to forgive others as well.

Jo Vitale: Shantiqua, I think, what we're all really appreciating, is you've really expressed well just how incredibly difficult forgiving anybody is. It's the hardest thing in the world. Actually, I had a quote written down by Desmond Tutu before you mentioned him, where he says, in 1998, "Forgiveness is not cheap. It's not facile. It is costly. Reconciliation is not an easy option. It cost God the death of his Son."

I think one thing that, when we're wrestling with forgiveness, is recognizing that this is so incredibly hard, but it was hard for God, too. Actually, it was so hard for Him, and that was the extent to which He had to go, all the way to His death, for forgiveness to be possible for us as well. I was thinking of the words you said, that when you needed Him most, it felt like He wasn't there for you. But, actually, it was the fact that all of our need was so great that required Him to go to those lengths.

I was thinking of the verse when Jesus says, "If anyone wants to come after me, he must take up his cross and follow me." I think, sometimes, when we think of that, we think of it in terms of external persecutions, or the world being really hard or things coming up against us, and I do think that's a huge part of it. But, I wonder if what makes taking up your cross so incredibly hard is that to take up your cross is to follow Christ walking into forgiveness. Isn't that just the hardest thing in the world?

It's excruciating. It honestly is agonizing to forgive people who've wounded you and wronged you, but maybe that is part of what Christ is talking about when he says, "Take up your cross and follow me," is walk with me into forgiveness, even thought, in many ways, this is dying to yourself, in the most literally way. It's the hardest thing you'll ever do, but it is also where life is found, and there's that incredible irony of those two things.

Pippa Shaper: What I love in the Book of Forgiving, it's such a practical step through it. What Desmond Tutu talks about at the beginning is he takes us so gently through. The first thing is the prayer before the prayer. The prayer before the prayer is even when it starts entering your orbit that forgiveness is possible, that you can just pray for the ability to even be able to look at forgiving. Because that's recognizing what a very, very hard process it is, and it's not an overnight thing. You don't just click your fingers and forget and forgive. It takes time to do the work properly, really takes time, takes time in your heart and on your knees to be able to get there.

Jo Vitale: Yeah. Maybe one additional scripture that could help you here is Psalm 73, which is the one that begins "Why do the wicked proper?". It's a whole psalm really someone wrestling through the agony of why the people who have hurt them seem to flourish and prosper in their life, and the person who's been the victim is suffering, and then wrestling that out with God.

I wonder if that's a helpful place for you to go, because it's modeling for you what true relationship might look like in the context of the pain you're feeling, which isn't to sort of try and squash it all down as if it's not a real emotion or as if these things aren't justified, but taking them to God and allowing Him to be part of that process of working through it with you as you're honest with him in your emotions.

God doesn't want us to hide from how we feel. He wants us to bring those things to Him, and I think that's when we can begin that really hard work of allowing Him to change our own hearts when we don't have the power to change our own.

Vince Vitale: I love, Pippa, what you said about forgiveness can take time. It's not easy. I was just reflecting on the fact that, even in terms of how God moved forward with forgiveness of us, it took time. Jesus came, and He lived a human life, and what He did on the cross didn't come for another 30 years. There was a process of forgiveness there. That makes a lot of sense to me.

Yeah, Shantiqua, I just want to maybe close your question by just affirming that longing for justice that you have, as Jo's already said, that's a good longing, and just run to God rather than away from Him with that. Ultimately, I think God is the only one who offers a hope for justice. You said those who hurt you, they went on with no recourse, just a slap on the wrist. That's not okay.

I'm really grateful to believe that I live in a world where there is a God who can bring ultimate justice, and if I take Him out of the picture, then I worry that the vast majority of injustice in the world, including the injustice that you've experienced, does go without any recourse and without any justice.

Michael Davis: Well, speaking about justice, this actually is a great segue into Andrew's question: How does social justice line up with the Bible? What does the Bible say about the social gospel?

Pippa Shaper: So, I always go back to Jesus, and what Jesus said and what Jesus did. What did the person of Jesus say in his actions and his words about social justice? In every example of it, Jesus was just. Jesus walked the journey with the people who deserved it least, with the people who weren't high and mighty. They didn't earn their place into heaven. Jesus didn't sit there with the Pharisees. Jesus sat down on the street with the beggars, with Zacchaeus, with the prostitutes, with the real people. He clearly cared for them, he clearly loved them, and that's exactly what we should be doing as well.

So, social justice is, we need to draw alongside people and to be not ... Something I've been challenged on recently, getting away from this benefactor beneficiary role, and really just coming to meet people where they are at their level. We're not thinking of ourselves as better than anybody else. If we meet every single person, as a child of God, then that's how we're expected to do, and that's what Jesus did. He didn't put labels on people.

Jo Vitale: Well, He came saying "it's not the healthy need a doctor, it's the sick." That's the point, isn't it, that Jesus doesn't just go to the healthy people who are already sorted out, but He goes to where the need is, where the hurt is, and that's where He loves. Thank goodness He went to those people, because it meant He came to us as well. We've all been there at some point.

So, yeah, just not drawing lines where Jesus wouldn't draw them. Jesus is fantastic at boundary crossing, in every sense. He'll go to the places that people would say, "Why are you speaking to that person? Why are you going there? Why are you paying them attention?" I love that call. I love that there's that two levels to it. I think sometimes people get caught in a tussle, don't they, where they think, "Oh, but we just need to evangelize and preach the Gospel and never mind helping people," or people say, "We just help people, we don't preach the Gospel." You can't look at the life of Jesus and do away with one or the other.

Pippa Shaper: Absolutely right.

Jo Vitale: Jesus holds it together in who He is. He says, "I've come to you to deal with the sickness of your sin and in your heart, your spiritual sickness, and I've come to deal with your physical," and I think if we lean one way or the other, then we're losing sight of where the heart of God is. A God who is holy. A God who is love. A God who is just.

I think having that vision that social justice springs from the morality and the heart of God, and letting that be what leads our steps ... So, we're saying, "God, show me where you're leading. Show me what would you do in each and every situation that we're confronted with? Where would you have us walk into this?" Sometimes that takes discernment because we're in a world that's crazy right now over social justice, and sometimes it's hard to know. "Lord, in the sea of anger and uproar and pain that people are feeling, show me where you are."

I think, so often where God is, is leading us to say, "Hey, forget about the big political arguments that are going on, but see the person in front of you. Who's the individual?

Michael Davis: Yeah, amen

Pippa Shaper: Absolutely, yeah.

Jo Vitale: ... Who's the one who's hurting?"

Vince Vitale: It just reminds us that Jesus didn't say to love just your Christian brother or sister, but He said to love your neighbor, He said to love everyone. He even said to love your enemy, and Jesus, first and foremost, looked at the individual in front of Him. He looked at people. He saw them. He loved them. He looked into their eyes. He sought justice in that individual life and in the context of their relationships, and then that broadened out more widely to society. He didn't start just on the macro level of cultural justice, but He started with real people.

Pippa Shaper: Individuals. Yeah, and doing it from an authentic point of view, not doing loving because we're told to love. Okay, well I'm being nice to you ...

Michael Davis: Yeah.

Pippa Shaper: You know? Actually, authentic loving.

Michael Davis: Yeah.

Pippa Shaper: Which means having a longterm relationship. It doesn't mean going on a quick mission trip and think you've done your work. That's not authentic. Love one person and really do it properly then try and spread it around so many people and not be authentic about it.

Jo Vitale: Pippa, how do you do that? How do you do that?

Michael Davis: It sounds messy. It sounds so messy.

Jo Vitale: Because I'm just thinking it's hard though because I'm just thinking it's so intense because some days, you just wake up and you just don't feel like loving somebody. You don't feel like serving. So, how in the ministry you're doing, in all the many families who are serving these incredible ways, how do you live that out?

Pippa Shaper: Well, it's hard, because we're human, and we don't feel beautiful and warm and loving towards people all the time. But what we can do, is to be authentic. I mean, it's coming back to that is what is so important, and to really draw alongside somebody, to meet them where they're at, and again, it's the sort of up down level benefactor, beneficiary. It's not about that. It's not, "I'm coming to love you, because you deserve my love." It's drawing alongside somebody where they're at and seeing how I can love you most appropriately where you are. It's not something I'm doing to you. It's something that I'm being with you.

Vince Vitale: That's really good, and one more question, Pippa, on this topic. I think sometimes people can feel paralyzed when you do begin to open your eyes and see actually the injustice and the horrors that pervade our world, and you almost don't do anything, because you start to see the need, but it's so vast. So, how does one get to the point when they begin to open their eyes to injustice and to need, but then find a way to focus in, in the way you have, on something where you can make a real difference, concretely?

Pippa Shaper: It's starting again. Go back to what you said, "One person." It's again, the micro, it's not the macro. It's coming down to the micro level of one person. Who is the one person today who you can reach out to?

Michael Davis: Amen.

Pippa Shaper: And connect to and make a difference in their life in an authentic, let me just say it again, in an authentic way.

Michael Davis: Exactly.

Pippa Shaper: You know, really doing it, not because you're being told to but because you can feel a heart connection with that person who's one person who I can do. And if you can do it with one person then tomorrow you can do it with one other person. You don't have to be thinking about starting an entire movement to do it. When we started Home from Home we talked about okay, one house, we can do one house, we can do one house with six children one foster mother and that's what we did. And that one foster mother, Nicki, is still with us today, 13 years later.

Jo Vitale: Wow.

Pippa Shaper: Of her six kids, four of them are the four original children who came into that house and we moved from one house to two houses and then you move from two houses to ... And you move like that. I was saying, yesterday, when I was speaking at a church in Augusta saying, God has so exceeded our expectations, but if we knew then what we know now about how big it would've been. I would have never have started Home from Home. It would have been way too big and scary to do. So, fortunately, he never shows us the whole big picture. It's like there's a vision, okay we can do that. Knowing how much it's gonna cost to fund it every month for example things like that, all the problems you're going to have. You don't do.

So keep your eyes low, keep your eyes low on the people you can help with never losing sight of the one who's above you.

Vince Vitale: It's really encouraging.

Michael Davis: It's fascinating, though, the connection between this and evangelism. Do you guys know that, it's like you can't evangelize at the macro level it has to be an authentic relationship one person at a time.

Pippa Shaper: Absolutely, amen. Yeah, completely.

Michael Davis: Well let's get to our third question, this is from Dave Jones. I saw a friend post a photo on social media of a starving mother and daughter lying down among heaps of trash. The daughter was holding up a sign and said "on judgment day I'll make sure I hear God out while he explains." His issue was with how could a good and just God permit these injustices, what are questions that could be asked to engage in a meaningful dialogue with him?

Pippa Shaper: Well Dave, those pictures that you see are hugely disturbing and I know those are the things that we see on a daily basis in the children we're dealing with. I was talking with some people at lunch time today about a little girl who's eight months old who's just come into us and, when she came in, her hands had been bitten away by, not completely gone, but bitten by rats because of the squalor that she'd been left in. And you think "How could that happen?" And the truth is God didn't make that happen, people allowed that to happen and God has given us enough in the world to go around and he's given us what we need to be able to reach out and help other people and not to turn a blind eye. When we look at what is the bad things in the world that happen, we can either turn to God and shake a fist at him and say "How have you allowed this to happen?" or you can turn to your fellow man and say "How have we allowed this to happen and what can we do to change this?"

Vince Vitale: That's really helpful and, obviously, Dave, you know this is a huge question. It's one I've spent years studying and there's not a simple answer to how God could permit certain types of injustices, but I think Pippa said it just rightly, that a worthwhile question is worth asking quite widely and so it's a good question for us to ask of God and let's ask that question of him and let's wrestle with him with this question in prayer, but it's a question to turn back on ourselves and ask of ourselves and to encourage our friends to ask of themselves as well, because that question is just as piercing when applied to us. How can we permit the injustices that we see in the world and, If your friend is serious about this photo, and the injustice, the concrete, real injustice that it symbolizes, then maybe ask him or her, "What can we do?" Is there something we can do together? Can we ask this question not just of God, yes let's ask it about him, let's wrestle with that together, but let's ask it of ourselves as well and is there something that we could be doing.

Sometimes God's goodness shines through most brightly when we're actually serving others the way he's asked us to serve him. So I would say if you could actually join together with your friend in the service of others in response to what he's identifying as unjust that would be a great first step and a great way to ultimately open up that conversation about God as well.

Jo Vitale: I think another question to think through would just be this and would it make a difference if God himself was on that trash heap? What difference does that make if he's there because if God is far off in heaven just watching down on that and doing nothing about it, then, rightly, I think we would all feel extremely angry and the question is "Where were you God?" But if his response is "I'm right there on that trash heap with you." If that's what it meant for Jesus to come and live with us and descend to that place then I do think that does make a difference. It shows us what kind of God we're really talking about and I was just thinking of the Old Testament where it says, "He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap and he seats them among princes and bestows on them a throne of honor" and that used to be written on the wall of a church that I worshiped in the year that I spent in Uganda and, again, it was something about that verse spoke to people, many of whom were also living life really on a trash heap. They're living the slums and it was a terribly depressing place to be and yet they were encountering Sunday by Sunday a God, who, actually, that was his heart to lift people and bestow on them honor.

And I think one of the incredible things about the way the Christian God does that is he does it through people. He says we're his hands and feet and that's exactly what you're doing Pippa isn't it? You're part of that bestowing of honor on people have been left on the trash heap and how do you, then, respond? Because some of your kids must wrestle with question like where was God when these things happened to me? How do you speak to them about some of these things?

Pippa Shaper: So we have a fantastic team of social workers who really know their kids well and our foster moms are the first line as well who know those kids and love them so much that they can walk that journey with them. Our foster moms are Christian women who are, also, asking the same questions, themselves, of the injustices that they see, but know that this is what they can practically do with them. And answer them in the best way possible, that is, loving them. Because I know that, that in my own journey walking through the deaths of a lot of people and questioning why God, why me, why now, why him, why another death, why this, so to be able to come to a place of acceptance that life is hard and God is good is a much easier place to be in because we're not going to know those answers until we meet God ourselves, I think, for a lot of that.

Michael Davis: Well guys we are out of time. Pippa sum it up for us.

Pippa Shaper: What we've been looking at today have been huge, huge questions about forgiveness about social justice about despair and it can all seem unbelievably overwhelming, particularly, I think, nowadays with social media - with that question we had about seeing the pictures - things can seem so overwhelming and if we can just take it all back to the simple, the one person in front of you, who's the one person you can reach out today to forgive or to ask forgiveness for? Who's the one person today who you can reach out and help or ask what help it is that they need, not come with your own version of what help that may need. Start small, start with one person, start authentically - I have to get that word in there again - with that one person who you can... And it will spread out from there. Don't get overwhelmed by the whole big picture of it's all just so huge I can't cope with it. Just start small, start with one, start the one today.

Michael Davis: Pippa, thank you so much for joining us. Vince and Jo thank you, thank you all for listening and we will catch you next week.

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