When Justice Seems Like a Moving Target

When we see a social injustice, we tend to look for a remedy. We seek answers from our political leaders and institutions, from leaders of movements and causes, from religious leaders, from the voices of the media, and perhaps from the court system.  We may try to curry favor with the powerful to induce change. Or maybe march the streets to shine a spotlight on the injustice. We demand to be heard by “the establishment,” from those folks that seem to have the power to do something. The “cause celeb” seems to change as often as the Soup of the Day at the bistro down the street. This is not to say that these causes fail to have a nugget of truth, but truth is often enveloped in angry and harmful rhetoric that does more to empower the leaders of the cause (and its opposition) than it does to bring real justice and healing for the injury or cause.

With every ounce of certainty, I can muster I say this – the reason we bounce from cause to cause, from pain to pain, from problem to problem, and then circle back again is that we are often looking to create social justice instead of seeking to receive divine justice. The sage of Proverbs put it this way, “Many seek the ruler’s favor, But justice for man comes from the Lord.” (Proverbs 29:26, NASB95) All justice for man comes from the Lord, not from our political systems, not from the man-made purveyors of angst and fear, not from the media, not from our religious leaders, not from the people in power, not from the rich and famous, not even from the ballot box. Justice, real honest to goodness justice, only comes from God

As followers of Jesus we must remember that the world sees no recourse but to demand, protest, riot, and perhaps even go to war to find some small measure of justice. Our job is not to pick sides but to bring the peace of Christ’s Good News to the broken. We do this by carrying Christ’s healing to all that are wounded of body, soul, and spirit. By sharing the love of Christ instead of joining the anger-driven chorus. By seeking Christ’s justice for those trapped by the sins of others. We are to be filled with the Spirit of Christ instead of intoxicated by the spirit of the mob or the cause. If you are thinking about those on “the other side,” think again.  Many in Jesus’ day sought to co-opt him for their own cause, and they got angry when Jesus refused to “toe-the-line.” I think what James said applies to causes and the pursuit of social justice as much as it does for interpersonal relationships – “This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;” (James 1:19, NASB95)

Lord Jesus, as I look over this strife-filled world overflowing with angry and wounded voices, I ask for these things.  I ask for your peace, your love, your justice, your healing, and your Spirit to flow through me.  Keep me from seeking man-made answers that fall short of Your perfect will. Keep me from joining the angry chorus and keep my eyes focused on you. Let me be an instrument of peace, a giver of your love, a proclaimer of your justice, and a conduit of your healing touch which is filled only with your Holy Spirit. Thank you, Jesus.

Dale Heinold
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