It seems that every day, there is more and more talk of “social justice.” All of a sudden, everyone wants to become a warrior. Joining this movement seems to be the trendy thing to do – like drinking pumpkin spice lattes or fighting with strangers on social media. The term itself was first used around 1840 by Catholics, so the expression isn’t as fresh as some people think. But, in many ways, it has been repurposed.
For some, social justice is connected to racial reconciliation. For others, it all about reproductive rights, also known as abortion advocacy. It’s linked to the LGBT community and their fight for equality. Many connect working towards women’s rights with social justice. Income equality, the rights of refugees, and addressing privilege are all aspects of social justice.
While some of this hasn’t been around long, fighting for justice isn’t new. And it certainly doesn’t belong to one group of activists.
For the Christian, the Word of God must be considered. And the Bible certainly has plenty to say about justice. Take these few verses as examples:
“When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” Proverbs 21:5
“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream.” Amos 5:24
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly & to love mercy & to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
It’s clear that justice is near to the heart of God. And make no mistake, God is going to administer justice. There is no doubting that. But until all of that is said and done, what are Christians to do in the face of injustices. And how do we decide what injustice even is? The truth is, justice doesn’t belong to people at all. It belongs to God. And we can all proclaim justice in His name.
In writing and speaking on the social justice of adoption and social injustice of abortion, I have been admonished by liberals and conservatives alike. Both Christian and non-Christian. Both progressive and traditional believers. Some have shouted from the rooftops that “real” Christians should not use the term social justice– especially if you are conservative. Others have told me to “have a seat” (how I loathe that expression) because what I am addressing is not “real” social justice. In other words, unless I view it the way they do, I’m wrong and shouldn’t have a voice.
Well, who gets to decide that?
Over and over and over, scripture speaks to the fact that God owns the earth, its inhabitants, and everything it contains. Everything. That must include justice. Even social justice. While many (most?) people use the term to align with liberal causes, Bible believing Christians do not have to exclude themselves or allow themselves to be excluded. To be sure, you must make sure that your fight lines up with the Holy Bible. And by all means know what you’re getting into. But don’t let anyone tell you that there is no place for you in this movement. Because justice isn’t new. And it doesn’t belong to just one group.