Part of understanding the notion of Justice is to recognize the disproportions among which we live...it takes an awful lot of living with the powerless to really understand what it is like to be powerless, to have your voice, thoughts, ideas and concerns count for very little. We, who have been given much, whose voices can be heard, have a great duty and responsibility to make our voices heard with absolute integrity for those who are powerless.
The whole idea of revenge and punishment is a childish day-dream. Properly speaking, there is no such thing as revenge. Revenge is an act which you want to commit when you are powerless and because you are powerless: as soon as the sense of impotence is removed, the desire evaporates also.
Conflicts are fueled by the tendency of the powerful to exploit the power and the anger and frustration of the powerless, which turns into violence. International Solidarity Movement activists are attempting to confront the exploitation of power and to bring back hope to the powerless.
I'd been depressed before, of course. But I'm talking about really depressed. Not just feeling a bit down or sad, a depression that has something to do with biorhythms. I'm talking about the kind of depressed that floats in upon you like a fog. You can feel it coming and you can see where it is going to take you but you are powerless, utterly powerless to stop it. I know now.
AA purports to be open to anyone, as it is stated in Tradition Tree, "The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking, " but it isn't open to everyone. It's open only to those who are willing to publicly declare themselves to be alcoholics or addicts and who are willing to give up their inherent right of independence by declaring themselves powerless over addictive drugs and alcohol, as stated in Step One, "We admitted we are powerless over alcohol- that our lives had become unmanageable.
Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
The idea of self-effacement, the idea that you feel so powerless that the only tiny morsel of power you have is over your own ability to deny yourself food - that to me is a very profound and sad methodology and indicator of how powerless a lot of people feel in this world. That they will turn that onto themselves until they are physically smaller. I think it's affected my worldview a lot - just being sensitive and empathetic towards the ways people want to be small. I don't wish smallness for anyone.
... True, we are often too weak to stop injustices; but the least we can do is to protest against them. True, we are too poor to eliminate hunger; but in feeding one child, we protest against hunger. True, we are too timid and powerless to take on all the guards of all the political prisons in the world; but in offering our solidarity to one prisoner we denounce all the tormentors. True, we are powerless against death; but as long as we help one man, one woman, one child live one hour longer in safety and dignity, we affirm man's [woman's] right to live.
One of our people in the Native community said the difference between white people and Indians is that Indian people know they are oppressed but don't feel powerless. White people don't feel oppressed, but feel powerless. Deconstruct that disempowerment. Part of the mythology that they've been teaching you is that you have no power. Power is not brute force and money; power is in your spirit. Power is in your soul. It is what your ancestors, your old people gave you. Power is in the earth; it is in your relationship to the earth.
What is truth? Pilate was not alone in dismissing this question as unanswerable and irrelevant for his purposes. Today too, in political argument and in discussion of the foundations of law, it is generally experienced as disturbing. Yet if man lives without truth, life passes him by; ultimately he surrenders the field to whoever is the stronger. "Redemption" in the fullest sense can only consist in the truth becoming recognizable. And it becomes recognizable when God becomes recognizable. He becomes recognizable in Jesus Christ. In Christ, God entered the world and set up the criterion of truth in the midst of history. Truth is outwardly powerless in the world, just as Christ is powerless by the world's standards: he has no legions; he is crucified. Yet in his very powerlessness, he is powerful: only thus, again and again, does truth become power.
Pope Benedict XVI