The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. (Proverbs 29:7)
A quick perusal of the use of the word “justice” in the Bible reveals something that is key to the nature of God. “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing” (Isaiah 61:8). Numerous times He is called a God of justice. Now about half the time this is tied to championing what is right and the judgment of wrongdoing, but half the time it is tied to the innocent, the poor and to foreigners — in other words, people who are not likely to receive fair treatment. “Do not pervert justice or show partiality” (Deuteronomy 16:19). These things are high on God’s list of national concerns, and since we are a democracy as well as followers of Christ, they should be our concerns as well.
Those who question the existence of a loving God based on the poverty and oppression that is in the world (how could He allow such a thing?) would find, if they looked into the word of God in greater detail, a God who is just as concerned, if not, more than they are about treating everyone fairly. And if God is concerned about this, how can we not be? Or as my friend Tony Campolo says, “Our hearts should be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” It definitely breaks the heart of God when the poor, the innocent and the foreigners are treated as less than those who are more privileged, or when someone is deprived of food, clothing and shelter for the crime of being born where they were born.
Marti often defines justice by posing the question: “Is it just if where you live determines whether you live?” Who can control where they live, what family they were born into, what privileges they have or don’t have? This is an injustice because this is not a just world. We need to care about this and do what we can to right it through our support of those who are seeking to change these situations by providing food, shelter, small business loans and jobs that would not exist otherwise.
What does this mean for you and me today?
It means to seek, however we are able, to support those whose lives are being threatened by where they live, to see everyone we meet as equally deserving of the rights and privileges we would afford ourselves, and to treat every human being, regardless of race, religion or citizenship, with the dignity that behooves a creation of God in the image of God.
I publish this today as a reminder of the values we hold as key to our commitment as followers of Christ here at the Catch, and because these are values that are being threatened by opposing trends of isolation, self-preservation, and ethnic supremacy found to be prevalent in Europe and America today. It used to be that being a good Christian also made you also a good American; now being a follower of Christ may put you at odds with the prevailing mood of the country, but then, from the beginning, being countercultural has always been familiar territory for followers of Christ.