Justice (Clarity Series, Part 1)

We are in a world that is confused and in a society that has flip-flopped good for evil, and evil for good (Is 5:20).  However, the answers to what is right and what is wrong, and the clarity that is desperately needed in the world are beautifully illuminated in the scriptures.  Loving one another just as we love ourselves, doing unto others as we would like to have done to us, forgiving those who do us harm, and living with the moral compass God has given to us are remedies for the ills of society. We have the answers and are the answer that the world needs for these times.  

One of the most discussed and sought after topics in our world is justice; and for good reason.  Injustice is rampant and we are called to change much of that by engaging in the other side of justice. The side that is often overlooked. 

JusticeEven the sound of the word feels right and needed around the world.  Like a fresh cup of water to a desert wanderer, justice is the desire of every oppressed person and people group to receive and to taste.  It’s also the very desire of God to grant.  God desires that everyone and everything on the earth receives justice.  God even sits on a throne of Justice and Righteousness (Ps 89:14, 33:5), highlighting how much that He loves and values justice.  In fact, justice is far more important to God than it is to any organization, political party, judicial system or disenfranchised individual or group of people on this planet. Justice is so much a part of God’s desire, that He dispatched His Son Jesus to the earth two-thousand years ago to give justice to the unjust and righteousness to the unrighteous.  When Jesus returns to earth in the near future, He will complete justice for every person as He judges the world.  Corruption will end and the kingdoms of this world will become His kingdom – He will reign over all of the earth.  This perfect justice will not come until He returns, but it will come.

While we wait for perfect justice to come to everyone, God has invited us to be a part of something more than just waiting to receive our personal justice.  There is action to take while we wait, and we are a part of the solution:

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

This passage, along with many others throughout the scriptures, show us that there is another side to receiving justice.  God desires for us to “do justice” for others even more than we may fight to receive it for ourselves.  He knows and hears our cry for justice just as He heard the cries of Israel when they were enslaved in Egypt, and sent Moses to help.  He desires that we partner with Him in being a part of the solution for others - that we become actively engaged in the business and activity of doing justice for others wherever we are.  We are supposed to be the “Moses’s” of our time, standing up and bringing freedom to others.

However, if the driving force of our efforts and our long term focus is on obtaining justice for ourselves rather than ensuring that others receive it through our love, voice and actions, then we will miss our calling and join the throng of millions of people dressed in victimization.  Justice is what we should look to give to others, not become the religion or cause of our lives, because we were created for more than receiving personally.  We were created to give. 

“Freely you have received, freely give” – Jesus (Matt 10:8)

As a remarkable example of someone who championed justice for others, consider the hero, Harriet Tubman.  Harriet was born in 1820 in Maryland.  Those before her were brought over from Africa during the Atlantic Slave trade.  The Atlantic Slave trade was one of the darkest periods in American history as over five hundred thousand slaves were brought to our country to be used and abused.  Although enslaved herself, Harriet was also a sincere believer in Jesus.  She was enslaved outwardly, but inwardly her independence day had come already come. She was free on the inside.  Then, after multiple attempts, Harriet escaped and entered freedom in the land North of her.  Having obtained freedom that she had never experienced previously, Harriet didn’t just enjoy it herself or dwell upon the injustices inflicted upon her during her captivity.  She didn’t grow bitter.  At great risk, she began making dangerous trips back to the land of her slavery to free others under the cover of night.  Over the next 10 years, the “Moses” of the South made 19 trips, leading over 300 slaves to freedom.  Harriet had obtained her own freedom, but she never received full justice in her lifetime.  However, she didn’t dwell on the injustices that she endured or the justice she never fully received. Instead, she focused on the freedom she could give others - and she gave it.  

There will never be “perfect” circumstances where we are perfectly treated by all, and then after finally being well treated in every way – by our government, neighbors, family, spouse, employer, employees, etc., we begin to finally “do justice” for others.  That world doesn’t exist currently.  It is idealism and a mirage that will keep us from fully engaging in our calling.  However, what we can do now is leverage the love and freedom we have in Christ and touch people’s lives in our current condition – whether slave or free. 

As another example, Raymond Nonnatus was imprisoned in Africa during the 1200’s after ransoming his life so that other slaves could be freed.  He took their place in prison.  Raymond was a lover of Jesus and a remarkable man.  While in an African prison and ill treated, he began sharing the love of Jesus with other prisoners and with his captors.  They were struck by his love and spirit.  Many of his Muslim captors came to faith in Jesus and he impacted everyone around him.  His inner freedom and the justice Christ gave him was not bound.  It leaked through the bars and into the hearts of those around him.  Raymond didn’t wait for justice to arrive for himself before being a help to others.  He didn’t lash out in anger at his unjust, smelly and rat infested condition.  Instead, he began the work of “doing justice” for others in the station he found himself in, and lives changed.   

All colors and ethnicities who have received freedom in Jesus have the invitation and a mandate to freely give freedom away, both naturally and spiritually.

What if we as individuals and the body of Christ took up the words found in Micah and began looking for ways in which we can “do justice” for others?   What if we began leveraging our resources on dangerous missions to set people free, strategized on how to bring light to dark areas of our city and the world?  What if we leveraged our creativity to come up with new ways to free the nearly 30 million sex slaves that are currently living in our world?  We would become the “light of the world,” the “Sons and Daughters of heaven” who continue the work of Jesus on the earth.  It’s our invitation to receive freedom from Jesus and it’s our mandate and calling to “do justice” in the earth.   

 

 

Matt is the Lead Pastor at Awake Church, as well as the founder of the water supplying organization Hydrating Humanity. Matt lives in North Carolina with his beautiful wife Debbie and their five sons. He is an avid storyteller who often shares his own adventure-packed history as well as stories of others that have inspired him.