Pursuing Justice

Justice.  Justice has become a popular buzz word.  There is a lot of meaning behind it but I am not sure that we are all on the same page once we start discussing it.  However, I do know that we all have a sense of what justice is, what justice isn’t and we all have felt impact of injustice at one time or another.  There are practical, tangible ways to fight against injustice but most of the time the solutions don’t even come close to touching the root of the problems.  Even trying to comprehend and define justice can be overwhelming.  There are two main choices here- either we can ignore injustice or do something about it.  But how do we go about making a difference when the problems, causes and solutions are complex, non-linear and discouraging?

I don’t claim to have any easy answers but I do know that we can all start taking small steps forward that could potentially have a radiating positive impact.  And I believe that first step is opening our eyes to the world around us and opening our minds to conversations and information about justice.  This should inevitably challenge us on many levels.

The Bible is a good resource about justice.  God cares about justice.  He has a special place in his heart for the weak, the weary, the lost and the oppressed.

Psalm 33:1-5 Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!  Praise befits the upright.  Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!  Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strong, with loud shouts.  For the word of the Lord is upright, and all of his work is done in faithfulness.  He loves righteousness and justice, the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

Psalm 9:7-12 But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the people with uprightness.  The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in time of trouble.  And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.  Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion!  Tell among the peoples his deeds!  For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

Micah 6:6-8 With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?  Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil?  Shall I give my firstborn for my transgressions, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  He has told you, O man, what is good and what the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Going through Exodus is a very blatant remind of what injustice can look like.  Click here for a sermon that has a lot of food for thought and points worth discussing in regards to justice.  I think one of the most important takeaways from this sermon is to remember Jesus.  In my quest to do more, act on and control the situation, it is easy for me to not keep Jesus first and foremost in my mind.  I get so caught up in what I can do right now that I forget about the one who has the eternal solution.

pursuing justiceI recently read Pursing Justice: The Call to Live and Die for Bigger Things by Ken Wytsma with D.R. Jacobsen.  I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to start or continue conversations about justice.  This book does a good job of keeping a biblical perspective as well as synthesizing a range of voices on the topic of justice.  If you’ve already begun to think about, read about and work through the topic of justice, this book might not provide anything new or earth shattering for you.  But we don’t need a new, fancy way of looking at and pursuing justice.  We need to go back to the source for true justice and this book provides a good foundation for just that.  Pursuing Justice can be a tool to help open our eyes and allow us to see injustice, be empathetic, channel our righteous anger into action and not forget to remember Jesus.

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