I couldn’t figure out what to write about today, so after sitting and thinking for some time, scrolling through social media, and finding different places to lay down in my room and stare at the ceiling from, I’ve decided now would be a good time to continue the Justice conversation.
Now, it’s been a few posts since we last talked about the issue of Justice and the Church, but the importance of it has not changed in the last few weeks. There are still murderers walking free, systems that are screaming for reform, and blindness and deafness to what God is really calling the Church to at any time in History.
“Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly.” (Micah 6:8)
These 3 things aren’t just a call to action but a call to radical transformation that begins with a deeper pursual of the Will and Heart of God for us. Those who I know to be most soul-level passionate about Justice are the same ones I know to be most in-sync with the Heart of God. God directs a special kind of care to the ones experiencing oppression and injustice. Think of the ways in which orphans and widows are referred to throughout Scripture, how Jesus treated women, Samaritans. And think of how you are treating the oppressed in society—this will give you an uncomfortably accurate idea of you are mirroring the Heart of Jesus. We are not determined a “good Christian” based on how many times we say “I’m praying for you.” We are either following closely after the Heart of the Father or we are not—there is no stagnant in our relationship with God; there is no on the fence. Lukewarm is never welcome. We show Jesus to others in how we Love one another. We show Jesus to others in how we Love the least of these, the poorest, the abandoned, the abused—“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
If Scripture points out God’s particular closeness to those who are suffering, shouldn’t we be in the midst of the suffering also? The greatest examples of Kingdom-heartedness are rooted in actions of humility that we may not want to participate in. It is uncomfortable to confront racism with close friends and family; it is uncomfortable to set aside time and money, to serve with your resources, when you could put that into extra things for yourself; it is uncomfortable to address human trafficking (modern day slavery) and how close to home it is because no one wants to know that the horrors we think can only happen in what are considered “impoverished” countries are happening, quite literally, up the street. We hate to know that people are evil to the core. Without Jesus, everything is an attempt at godhood, a vain pursuit to be in control and of worth—and where we attempt to construct our own value, we will inevitably fail and cast the consequences onto those around us we find available to attack, which often ends up being the groups most accustomed to oppression throughout history.
Right now, there are men of color being murdered for activities no one has ever had any business being murdered for; there are children being raped over and over again, day after day, in their own homes, sold for money as sex slaves by their parents; there are women being mutilated; there are little girls being married off (in the United States, by the way, because there are very few laws preventing child brides); there are people starving and suffering and lacking access to care; I’m sure you could think of a few more things to add to the list; I know I can.
This is only 5 things listed among the many injustices we see playing out in our very neighborhoods. It’s overwhelming, just these 5 things. We cannot be every kind of fighter for every kind of fight, but each of us can be Kingdom of Heaven Warriors at all times, whether that looks like starting a nonprofit, volunteering on the weekends, donating money, moving overseas, advocating for policy change, the list goes on—there is something we can all do to be Life Light to a world covered completely in darkness. We were called to be in the world, not of it, and our very presence forces the kingdom of Hell to recoil in fear. Our very presence as people rooted in the Word is a very immediate threat to Satan’s desire to kill, steal, and destroy. Why do you think Justice is always under attack? We are here, not to look like the world or try to influence change like the world but to influence change in a Kingdom Way. On earth as in Heaven, so let it be that those crying, “Jesus,” you and I, are rooted in seeking Justice. Because Jesus is always sitting with those in the dirt, in the tears, in the hunger, in the fear, and in the uncertainty—Grace and Mercy run in the lowest places, not the comfortable places. Seeking Justice and Kingdom Now demands sacrifice—if there is no discomfort, there is probably no lasting work being done.
We are the Church—that’s it. We are to be the Living, Breathing Embodiment of Heaven on earth, and I think it’s time to reevaluate exactly how we are attempting to do that. People are not saved by the reputation of American Christianity, quite the opposite, in fact. People come into the Kingdom because the Grace of God gets low with them in all the mess, misunderstanding, evil, and uncertainty.
Justice is sought in regular places and among regular people—on the street corner, in the downtown areas, among high drug use and high arrest rates, where kidnapping is common and abuse runs rampant, where murder is senseless and self-righteousness and self-idolization take precedence—in the both places you don’t want to go and places you go every day, the Great Love of God is breaking through powerfully. And this revolution won’t always look like freedom in the world (although we fight aggressively for the equality of all people everywhere because humanity and value is not influenced by skin color, gender, ethnicity, or race), but Freedom will be had because where the Spirit of the Lord is, Freedom reigns in a manner that we cannot even begin to conceive of or explain. Every one of us, every one of us, knit together in our mother’s womb, handcrafted and held dearly in the Heart of God—this is why we pursue Justice and Kingdom Now—everyone deserves to here how unequivocally important each of us are individually to the Maker of the Universe. And that often starts by hearing it from the actions of people who believe it.
The Life of a Believer is not one of ease and simple “good person” bullet points to check off—pick up your cross and follow Jesus, to the lowest of valleys, the highest of mountains, and everywhere in between. Carrying a cross is uncomfortable, and intentionally so—sacrifice is never created to be comfortable, it’s created to be meaningful. “Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.” (C.S. Lewis)
So every day, we shall pick up our crosses, the new mercies every morning, and seek Jesus in Justice, in bringing the Kingdom.