A God Who Sees and Cares about Justice

"All His ways are justice...Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne." - Psalm 18:14.

Prior to the last two weeks, I ashamedly confess that I have never deeply studied the attribute of God's justice or His care for the marginalized. I have never questioned this aspect of God's character because I've never experienced the deep hurt that would make me doubt it. However, that is not the reality of all image-bearers in America. With so many voices, narratives, and emotions flying at us from every platform, you may be confused about how we are to respond? There are lists elsewhere of practical steps Christans can take during this time. Let us first learn and lament where we have fallen short of God's heart and intentions to incite long-lasting change. The question here is posed: How does God feel about injustice and what does that mean for us?

Moses to Jesus

God is not an unfeeling God, who desires good and hates evil, yet does not draw near. He is not One to simply stand outside of human existence impersonally, and to ignore those who grieve and despair. When oppression and wrongdoing go unpunished and the vulnerable cry out, He bends His ear to hear their cries. In Exodus 3 when the Israelities were enslaved, oppressed, and worked to death by the Egyptians, it says that God had "seen their affliction, heard their cries, and knew their suffering." God's answer to Israel's suffering is to send Moses. Through Moses God reveals his love, compassion, and saving power. God saw. God Cared. God did something about it.

Moses foreshadows Jesus in this way. God saw, like He saw them in Egypt, and cared for his people who were bound by the slavery and oppression not of Egypt or Pharoah, but sin with no way out. Jesus came to them on their own turf. He became a man. He lived a poor life so others could become rich (2 Cor. 8:9). He was reviled and threatened, hated by those who hate the light. He deprived himself of all that he was entitled to- the worship and glory that he had always had with God the Father- in order to restore those without hope. God's answer to Israel in Egypt physical oppression was to send Moses. God's answer to Israel's spiritual oppression was to send Jesus. Now, in order to make this earth look more like Heaven, Jesus sends you.

Jesus to His Body

In light of Jesus' spiritual freedom He has given to us a hope for the future alongside a physical example of caring for those who physically needed help. It begs the question: How do we live in the meantime, while we are still on this side of heaven? If we have Christ's Spirit in us, then his heart and hands work through us. This way of life that Christ modeled, his heart for the oppressed and hurting is now the believer's lifestyle. Emptying any ability, action, or resource in us for the welfare of the oppressed and burdened by injustice. We are to "bear one another's burdens" (Gal. 6:9). Jesus' coming into our world shows us something very important: You cannot bear someone else's burdens while maintaining your distance. This is an up-close and personal interaction, to look outside of ourselves and our needs to the needs of others. To make other people's problems your problems. To not be silent on what is evil because we are provoked and changed by the truth of the Gospel and God's nature and heart for justice. A community, namely our black brothers and sisters, are crying out for help, for change. The opportunity on the table is to reflect the character of our God to the rest of the world. There's a world out there that wants to shift the narrative into the world of Conservative/Liberal, Republican/Democrat, and Capitalism/Socialism. Most of it is a distraction from feeling and seeing the way God wants his people to feel and see. What if we were to sit, think, and pray about what it could look like for the Church to be what it was always meant to be: a people that offer the Gospel of Redemption paired with the work of relational and societal restoration. The Church is God's answer to a hurting world:

"Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place." - Jeremiah 22:3

"Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause." - Isaiah 1:17

His Body to the World

Humanity was made in the image of God. As Image bearers, we all have intrinsic dignity and worth no matter what we look like or where we're from because of the One who made us. The one who made us is a God of all justice and righteousness. It is the role and sobering responsibility of the Church to reflect Him and His righteousness in a deeply divided, unjust and desperate world. It is easy to look and see that other people and things are the problems and reason for injustice. But the thing that's culpable for the injustice outside of us is still the same sin that is in us as well. We as believers have fallen short of His practice of listening to the hurting and doing something about it. How do you live in this world and live justly and care for others? To start, turn the tables on yourself. I've been trying to do that this week. He also has given His church explicit ways to carry out his love of justice in the world. I don't have all the answers, but I have the Word to show me God's heart and my opportunity to reflect him. Let God's word read us, convict us. Let us grieve with others and lament how long it's taken us to get here, but repent and chase after what He loves.

"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?" - ‭Micah 6:8

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