Agents of Justice
Today is a Tuesday. This particular Tuesday is known as "Black Out Tuesday." This moniker is meant to be a call for all of humanity to stand up in an active pursuit of equality and justice for all people in response to the endless reality of racial inequality catylized by the all too familiar senseless death of another black man, George Floyd.
I am no authority in how to respond to these moements. Confessionally, I need to say that I have very little experience actually stepping in or stepping up to make change. I feel the sting of familiarity of response without personal progress. I feel the shame of mindlessness between these tragedies that get national attention. I imagine I am not alone for those that live in the privelege that I do.
I was processing much of this with my wife, Amber. We were discussing whether or not we, as a white person, should go to protests... whether or not it is welcomed, safe, or wise. She lovingly and wisely pointed out that this decision is one that is only afforded to those of privelege. A person of color does not have the luxury of choosing how or when they will get involved. I was immediately humbled and grateful for that light of Truth that was shined on my own heart and mind and the blind spots that I have.
This is not a post where I share how this grand epiphany lead to the answers we all long for. Honestly, I still feel pretty lost as to what I can actually do...
I do know that we cannot let a sense of futility and bewilderment prevent us from continuing to lean in and learn and advance the redemptive possibilies that always come out of tragedy.
The cry is rightly for justice.
Scripture is full of God's heart for justice. Here are a few:
Micah 6:8 - "8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Deuteronomy 16:20 - "Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you."
Isaiah 1:17 - "Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause."
Amos 5:24 - "But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."
Actually, all of scripture is the story of God working for justice.
This was part of our teaching last week but it bears repeating. We often think of justice as punishing wrong. It certainly includes correction and punishment but that is never the extent of justice; it is only a part of it. Justice, as God has shown us as part of who He is, is the work of making things right. Justice is the means to the end of seeing the world made whole once again where we see the beauty and florishing of original creation where all are created in God's image for His holy purpose and for loving relationship. This exposes immediately that we will never have perfect justice in our midst before Christ returns and restores all things but that does not mean that we are resigned to suffer hopelessly and futilly.
Jesus came to restore justice. First, He accomplishes this by satisfying justice by taking on our sin and death (Romans 3:21-26). Secondly, we are then made agents of justice as we are renewed as His image bearers existing as the incarnate Body of Christ, the Church. An agent is a person or a thing that takes an active role or produces a specified effect. Just as the work of Jesus ushered us in to being restored from what was broken and divided, we are invited to expressing our new identity in Christ which makes us agents of grace, mercy and justice. None of these are passive or neutral. Grace, mercy, and justice are advancing. They are the elements that enter in and bring about change.
Maybe we don't have to have the asnwers. Maybe our best opportunity is to be humble, show up, affirm what God affirms in His desire for all humanity... to belong and be loved. How can we live as agents of justice? How can we bring about restoration in each other, our communitites, and our culture? It will not be quick. It will not be easy. It will be messy. We must not forget that "greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world."
all scripture from: The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Heath is an elder of The Bridge Montrose as well as the Regional Director of Houston for the TX/OK District of the EFCA.
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