I have been asked by a very dear friend to continue our focus on justice by answering some questions dealing with justice in terms of our Christian obligation to protest and work for change when we see injustice. I will attempt to do this, relying on God’s Word to guide me. If, in any of my daily doses you wish for me to expand or explain, please feel free to let me know. I’m certainly not claiming to be the ultimate authority on anything, but I will do my best to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Let me begin by saying that Christians have a long history, and a righteous one at that, of being bold in their defense of justice. But in all these cases, guided by the Holy Spirit, Christians have had the dual concerns of justice and evangelization. Christians getting involved in political fights and revenge have only served to hurt the church. Jesus called His people to preach repentance, not hate. Done in love, history shows us that Godly values have helped bring about radical transformation throughout the world.
Martin Luther King was a great example of the Godly path toward injustice. His peaceful protests dramatically changed the landscape of race relations in the United States. In everything he gave credit to God. In every speech the Gospel was proclaimed. His goals matched his Maker’s goals and he ultimately died a martyr revered by people of every race. Every step he took was encouraged by love and, concerning justice, he stood for what was right. Martin Luther King made a kingdom difference because He understood the idea of Christian justice, love for neighbors and a passion for Christ.
God speaks through Paul when he says in Romans 12:17-18, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” When injustice raises its ugly head against our neighbor, it is our obligation to serve our neighbor, and, sometimes, that is achieved through peaceful protest seeking change through love. Ephesians 4:31-32 reminds us, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” In our worldliness, our old Adam wants to take over in anger when we feel injustice has been served, but Christ has shown us that love is much more powerful than hate.
I recently watched the movie “unplanned” about a manager for Planned Parenthood who finally quit because of the injustice that was given to fetuses through abortion. In this movie they portrayed her life and, in scenes that showed people outside their gates protesting, they showed two types of Christian protestors. One would try to change the minds of young girls who came to have the procedure done with profanities, trying to shame the girls into changing their minds, all the while gripping their Bibles. The other spoke out in love, offering help and guidance to make the right decision. Which one do you suppose had the greater impact? In the end, all that was left of the crowd were those who came in love.
So, in the end, we have an obligation to serve our neighbors whenever injustice occurs and sometimes that’s in peaceful protest that both shows support, and leads people to the love of Christ. When we see oppression, it is our God given duty to fight against it with a willing heart and a loving attitude. Proverbs 31:9 says, “Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” We are called to be bold when injustice and oppression are present but to do so as Christ did, with strength in conviction and boldness in affection for the truth. “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor (or anyone oppressed) will himself call out and not be answered” (Proverbs 13:13).
If we would all work for change, imagine what great things we could do in love. Personally, I support and encourage those who have decided to stand up against racial injustice in all its forms. I find joy in those who walk arm in arm in peaceful protest against any kind of ungodly oppression. It’s sad to see when anger and destruction overshadow it. God would have us continue to fight for what is right but to be righteous in all our ways while doing it. He would also ask us to proclaim the saving nature of the Gospel and its messages of love so that others may see that love always conquers hate. I would ask you all to pray for those who are standing up against all forms of injustice. Let us do it together now:
Heavenly Father, it is so easy to turn away when injustices and oppression occur. It’s easier to leave it to others. Be with all of those who chose to meet the problem head on in peaceful protest. Help us to change our ways and stand up for what is right knowing that what is right has been defined through the work of Your only Son, Jesus Christ. Equip us with a brave but loving heart to do our part to make a kingdom difference in the world. Use Your Holy Spirit to help us to be both educated and bold as we stand together against those things that do not match Your will. Give us a heart for justice and a love for all that is right. Amen.