Finding justice in Jesus
As someone who was trained in Law and Politics, I had always believed that I had a pretty clear concept of justice. And as a Christian, I thought I had found the perfect intersection of my faith, academic training and actions for social justice. I believed, as so many do, that the best way to see an end to injustice on the earth was to be the voice that stood up for the voiceless, to defend those that couldn't defend themselves and to stand against oppression. As someone trained specifically in human rights, it was my job to stand up for the little guy. Or at least that's what I thought.
Everywhere you look in our society, it is evident that the creeping teachings of humanism and secularism have reframed our thinking about what justice is and what our roles are meant to be in it all. Wherever we see a need, believing that it is our Christian duty, our first response is almost always to make a call to action. But was this really what Jesus meant when He told us to seek first His Kingdom?
God clearly says in His word that our first response should always be to seek Him first and He teaches us that we can only do this through faith-filled prayers and supplications. In His teaching in Matthew 6, Jesus repeats that we ought not to worry about things or seek earthly solutions for our problems, but to rather trust in Him. Yes, we must give to those in need with earnest hearts amongst other things. But above all, we must seek Him and trust Him alone.
Yes, charity is good and indeed necessary, and I am by no means saying that we stop acts of charity. Jesus very clearly gave His Church the mandate to clothe and feed the orphan and the widow (James 1:27). But charity is not God's final solution for the world that is full of darkness. His perfect solution is His Son, Jesus, our Great Redeemer! As a Church, I wonder if we have gotten so caught up in all the things that we have to do for Him, that we have forgotten how to simply trust in the power of the God that we serve.
Of course, it's never okay to walk past those in need and do nothing - Jesus' teaching on the Good Samaritan make that clear. However, we must also be careful not to forget that our first mandate, above all other things, is to love God. Part of loving Him is seeking Him first in order to know what His response is and what His thoughts are. Until we return back to the biblical model of seeking the Lord first for His heart over every issue, we will not receive His answers and strategies, and we will not see an end to injustice on the earth.
Where I had thought that I was meant to be the voice or the defender or liberator, the Bible (Deut 10:17-21) says clearly that God alone is meant to fill these roles. He is our defender, who ensures that we receive justice.
Only God Himself can bring the redemption and liberation that we want to see. Charitable actions are good works but they are not God's main work. Jesus came to earth to set captives free, to cast out demons, to redeem us to Himself. Yes, even to feed the hungry, but above all else, He came to make God known, that He might be glorified.
Is there a situation of injustice that you have a particular passion for? Take the time, each day this week, to pray for God's perspective and action on this issue.