Thereís a lot of talk these days about social justice. It seems to be the new ďcatch phraseĒ for people running for office and their supporters in the media. Social justice is not a new idea. Itís been around for quite some time. In fact, poverty and justice is a major theme in the Bible and nearly 2,000 verses in Scripture deal with those two issues.
Jesus talked a lot about social justice. He wanted justice for the wrongfully accused, the poor, the widowed, the blind. He wasnít too excited to hang out with the rich and powerful. In fact, not only did Jesus talk a lot of about social justice he proclaimed His very existence on earth was rectify all the wrongs. In Luke 4 Jesus said:
The Spirit of the Lord is on Me,
because He has anointed Me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent Me
to proclaim freedom to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free the oppressed,
to proclaim the year
of the Lordís favor.
He went on to say this scripture which he quoted from Isaiah, has been fulfilled. Meaning He was there to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah. Boy did that get Him into trouble.
As social justice is likely to divide the United States even further itís sad to me that very little people on both sides of the political spectrum get this. And yes you did read that social justice is dividing the country. Because it is.
Donít get me wrong, social justice is a good thing. Jesus was all for it. He hated the proud. He hated the oppressors. He saw that poverty and injustice were directly related to the human condition. So He sought to correct that.
What is lost in all this is being rich and powerful is also directly related to the human condition. Rich man, poor man, it doesnít matter both are sinful and both suffer from the casualties of sin. How many times do you hear about a rich seemingly have-it-all person who deep down inside is miserable. Because even he knows money is not the Answer.
When God created man, he gave us freewill. This concept makes perfect sense when things are going well. It makes little sense when things go wrong because we want God to intervene and make things new! But He doesnít. At least not always. That time will come. But, freewill is key not only for God but for us. Without freewill, there would be two types of people. Those who hate God for His restrictions and those who simply love God because of what He gives them. Sound familiar? Itís very modern day.
In todayís America there are two types of people. Those who hate government and those who love government. The haters, weíll call them conservatives, do not like the rules, regulations and restrictions our government places on us. So they rebel. The lovers, weíll call them liberals, love the government for what it gives them, i.e. handouts and giveaways. And when those presents dry up, they scream and complain and look for another savior.
Iím not here to debate the merits of what political ideology is best but itís pretty clear to me that as government gets bigger, our freewill is lost. Ultimately we are forced to obey the government whether we hate it or embrace it. God never wanted us to be forced to obey Him so He gave us freewill. God is big, but Heís not Big God. Isnít it amazing how something is complex as creation trickles down to something as simple as government?
Perhaps thatís why our founders had such an emphasis on a restricted government because the only thing a big government breeds is anger from one side and dependency on the other. This is exactly what God did not want when he got into the business of creation. He wanted to be loved just as any parent wants to be loved by their children Ė and not because of what they do or donít do for them.
Government should not be worshipped. But unfortunately, many people look to the government as their savior. They see man created hope. They are now dependent on an institution governed by man afflicted with the human condition and who are now trying to cure that which is caused by the human condition. Has fighting fire with fire ever worked?
When Jesus came to bring social justice he did not mean for this to be accomplished by governments created and staffed by humans suffering from the human condition. Humans cannot deliver social justice only Jesus can. And without freewill social justice can never be rendered. Jesus is social justice. With the freewill to follow Jesus we can then have the freewill to pursue social justice by making a choice on how to live our lives.
Poverty is a result of the human condition. And so is being rich. Godís original plan was not for some of us to have little and some of us to have a lot. We all suffer from sin and sin breeds poverty, injustice, wealth and power. There is no government on earth that can rectify the problem of sin. And there is no government on earth that can adequately address the problems of poverty and affluence. The only answer is through Jesus who can change the human heart. Rich or poor, the person who ultimately relies on Christ is no longer rich or poor because what is theirs is not theirs, whether itís $1 or $1 million.
Look! Godís dwelling is with men,
and He will live with them.
They will be His people,
and God Himself will be with them
and be their God.
He will wipe away every tear
from their eyes.
Death will exist no longer;
grief, crying and pain will exist
because the previous things
have passed away.
- Rev. 21: 3-4