I have mixed feelings when it comes to social justice. I know that God is just. Isaiah 30:18 says "...for the Lord is a God of justice, how blessed are all those who long for Him". Social justice has gotten a bad name though. Lately, it tends to look like redistributing wealth, or fighting for the rights of illegal immigrants. What does seeking justice actually look like? Is social justice the justice God desires from me?
Amidst this current Covid-19 pandemic, my family has found time to do devotions together in the morning where once we struggled to fit it in. It's been a beautiful thing. One of the devotions we have done together was a short video series we found on the service Right Now Media called Reckless Love. The series was spectacular and I highly recommend it if you have the opportunity to watch it.
There was a comment made at some point in the series though that made me pause a bit. One woman talking about justice gave an example. Imagine you saw a child drowning in the river and saved them. Then you look up and see another one drowning, and save them. Then another. Seeking justice would be finding out why children are falling in the river and stop it from happening at the source. She then said, "Jesus would want us to seek justice".
But would He? Is that what He asked of us? I can read what Jesus told us to do, and I can look at His example. Both should inform how I choose to live as a follower of Jesus. Where is Jesus talking about changing the system to stop death, disease or poverty. Where do we see Jesus changing a system or government that oppressed people and religion? I could be wrong, but I'm not seeing it. Instead, he looked at individuals and healed them. He even looked at a crowd and provided meals when there weren't any. But He didn't change the system, or suggest changing the Roman government that oppressed and killed the people.
The world wants to end death and suffering, and so do we as Christians. It just won't happen on earth. No matter how great our systems and plans are, death is still a part of this life, and no amount of political reform will change that.
I am seeking a balance in this area. I know that God wants us to value life and seek healing, health, and freedom for others. I also don't want to get caught up in an effort to change the world, but miss the people right in front of me.
I came across an article by Greg Boyd at What Jesus' Kind of Social Justice Looks Like that I liked. Check it out.