As the nation and our culture discuss justice, this should a moment the church can have a clear voice on the issue. But unfortunately that has not been the case.
Many fail to see the connection between worshipping a just God, who will one day make all things right, and seeking a just life, which seeks to make things right each day.
Yes, final justice belongs to God, but we are to live out His character in this life. Justice has been a particular character trait of God that He has consistently expressed a desire for us to showcase on His behalf.
Much of the Old Testament is focused on the idea of justice. Calls for justice run throughout the Mosaic Law (Lev. 19:15, Deut. 16:20, Deut. 27:19).
The Writings reveal God’s heartbeat for justice to be practiced by His people (Ps. 106:3, Ps. 140:12, Prov. 28:5).
In the Prophets, God often refers to justice as a trademark of those who love and follow Him (Is. 10:1-2, Micah 6:8, Zech. 7:9).
The New Testament continues this march of justice. When Jesus comes, He is described as one who will bring justice (Matt. 12:18). His character is contrasted with that of the Pharisees who neglect justice (Matt. 23:23, Luke 11:42). Ultimately, Jesus will judge all men and He will do so with justice (Acts 17:30-32).
Justice is not some small matter to God. It lies at His very heart. For the Christian, this means we cannot take it lightly. We should not brush aside cries of injustice, particularly when those voices come from individuals with different perspectives than ourselves.
It is never the Christian response to be dismissive and snide about the pain felt by others.
— Aaron Earls (@WardrobeDoor) December 4, 2014
Listening does not always mean agreeing with others, but it does mean seeking to understand their perspective and being slow to speak an unhelpful opinion. Too often we want to engage in a war of words to prove that our thoughts are the right ones, without recognizing our own fallibility and limited perspective.
The Christian has not been called to be “right,” but to be righteous. Sometimes that means grieving with those who are grieving, while we keep our mouths shut.
Our goal should not be to have the most liked comment on Facebook, but to be the one whom friends believe they can come to when things go wrong, even when they disagree with us. They should know that we will pursue justice no matter the personal cost to us or our opinions.
When people feel as if an injustice has taken place, they should recognize the church as a place that stands with them. They should see Christians as those who will comfort them in their pain. I do not have to agree with someone or know all the facts to love them.
Justice is about much more than what the Bible tells us to do. It’s about who the Bible calls us to be.
In Isaiah 58, God is speaking to the empty faith of His people. They were fasting, but while they were fasting they were being abusive to their servants and refusing to help the poor and hungry.
God told them that their religious observances meant nothing to Him, if they were not followed up with the religious actions of serving others.
But what really struck me in this passage and what I believe Christians should strive to be in the area of social justice is what God says in verse 12:
Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
You will raise up the age-old foundations;
And you will be called the repairer of the breach,
The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.
If I am practicing my faith correctly, I should be known as a “repairer of the breach” and a “restorer of the streets.”
So that leads me (and us) to this question: how many breaches have I repaired lately, how many streets have I restored? How much have I been out in the culture working to redeem it through my service to Christ and others?
Because of God’s character and who He has redeemed us to be, these actions are to epitomize the lifestyle of a Christian. Followers of Christ should continue to seek justice continually until the day He delivers it perfectly.