Posts Tagged ‘social justice’

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

A few thoughts about God’s heart for issues of social justice.

Quite simply: God cares about social justice.  Not because it’s where the best of celebs are pouring their money these days, not because the American church is finally catching on.  God cares because every good thing comes from Him; He cares because it’s His nature; He cares because He loves people and hates to see them hurt.
Check out some of God’s thoughts on justice: Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, encourage the oppressed; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.  (Isaiah 1:17  Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.  (James 1:27)

So which issues does God care about?  Which issues of ‘justice’ are we talking about here?  Because the idea of social justice is centered around human rights, one must first decide what he believes about basic human rights.  For instance, is it a basic human right for all to be fed and clothed?  What about medical care?  Is education a basic human right?  Or adequate employment?

The first few should be obvious.  Look at the words of Jesus in Matthew: I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

I think that most Christians agree that God cares about the hungry, the orphaned, the sick.  A question about the sick–was Christ only referring to the sick in the church?  Those with faith to be healed?  I would argue that this is not so but I’ll save that for another discussion.

So what about other issues?  Could the Maker of the universe really be concerned about Umbaya’s ability to get a job that pays fair wages?  Well, to the man tempted to virtually enslave dear Umbaya, God says: Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother Israelite or an alien living in one of your towns.  Pay him his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it.  Otherwise he may cry to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty of sin.  (Deuteronomy 24:14-15)

Rick Ufford-Chase, the international director of BorderLinks and moderator of the Presbyterian Church USA said: “[Social justice] brings together people of many different faith traditions, human rights and environmental activists, labor organizers, young people who want to make the world a better place, and on and on. When I speak of working for social justice, I begin with the teachings of Jesus, and his commitment to basic fairness and a life of dignity for the poorest of the poor.”

The poorest of the poor do not just need money.  There are so many things that can cause poverty, so many things to which poverty can lead.  I would adamantly argue that based on the life and teaching of Jesus, the roots and leaves of poverty are things for which Jesus would care deeply.


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