“You’ve been Listened to”

There is no word for “justice” in the Cree language.

In his book “Up Ghost River”, residential school survivor Edmund Metatawabin described the closest word to justice in Cree is “kintohpatatin” – which loosely  translates to “you’ve been listened to.”

It is a fulsome word – richer than the suffocating legal confines of criminal justice (sic).  It “really means you’ve been listened to by someone compassionate and fair, and your needs will be taken seriously.” (Source, Jane Philpott, MacLean’s, January 2020 edition).

Real justice means you’ve been listened to by someone compassionate and fair, and your needs will be taken seriously.

I can think of no-one better than Jesus who embodies the ability to listen with compassion and fairness – who takes your needs seriously.

The one who came in right-relatedness comes to affirm redemptive justice; lo and behold – fairness looks so much like being listened to with compassion.

We may marvel at Jesus who demonstrates the power of really understanding those excluded and judged. Over and over again, if we look over the many encounters of Jesus in the New Testament, we may see what it means to be listened to. And if you’ve experienced the power of being listened to, then may you grace your world with the ability to listen to others.

Grace to you.


For more, consider “The Power of Listening.”

About R.H. (Rusty) Foerger

As I enter the third third of life, I am becoming aware of the role of elders today “to enlarge spiritual vision, being devoted to prayer, living in the face of death, as a living curriculum of the Christian life” (Dr. James M. Houston). I am a life long and life wide learner who seeks to: *decipher the enigma of our worth *rescue from the agony of prayerlessness *integrate spiritual friendship.
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