Five ways to fight injustice. We are living in a nation that is hurt and divided. Recent events, have once again, brought to light issues of systemic racism. The murder of George Floyd should not be ignored. As the church, we cannot sit back and ignore pain and injustice. Fighting injustice is not a one-time act. We need a long-lasting heart change. But what can we do? There are five very powerful things we can do to fight injustice.
1) Pray and Repent
God is Sovereign. God does not cause, nor condone, suffering and violence. And yet, in spite of God’s sovereignty, there is something very real and very powerful that happens when God’s people pray. 2 Chronicles 7:14 states, “If my people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (ESV) The key, here, is God’s people praying and repenting. It is not up to the world to pray and repent. Believers in Jesus Christ must pray and repent. We should pray for the wickedness of those around us, and for our own sin.
Secondly, we should pray for others, that God’s blessing would be upon them. God created and loved all people. We should want nothing but God’s best for them. The Bible goes even so far to say that we should love those who have hurt us (Matthew 5:43-44). Further, we should pray for our enemies — “Love your enemies! Do good to them…and you will be acting as children of the Most High, for He is kind to the unthankful and to those who are wicked.” (NLT). We should not be making enemies of those we don’t understand or even disagree with. We should be praying for them and doing what we can to reconcile relationships.
2) Speak Up For Justice
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you? But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8, NKJV). What does the Lord require? He requires us to do justice. We are to be agents of peace, agents of mercy, agents of justice. Justice is defined as “just behavior or treatment; a concern for justice, peace, and genuine respect for people” (Oxford Dictionary). Dictionary.com adds “qualities of righteousness, moral righteousness, principle, right conduct” to the definition. Synonyms for justice are: fairness, fairplay, equity, correctness, authority, legitimacy, amends, reparation, and square deal.
As believers, when we see something unfair or unequitable, we have a duty to speak up. To seek justice requires us to use our voice. Voting according to your moral principles is one practical way to seek justice. You do not have to agree with your friend on whom to vote, but you should read the issues and vote for the candidate who reflects your moral principles. Secondly, hold those you vote for accountable. Speak out, write letters. Getting on social media and ranting is rarely helpful, whereas, attending local council meetings and speaking for truth and justice can be.
3) Love Your Neighbor
Love your neighbor is not a code for something. It means exactly what it says. Love your neighbor. There are many ways to show love to those around you. Who is your neighbor? A man in the Bible asked Jesus that very question (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus answer was pretty simple and profound — everyone is our neighbor. After the story he shared he encouraged his listeners to show mercy to all.
Further, Jesus encouraged His followers to live differently than the world around them. John 13:34-35 have some life-giving words of Jesus, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (NLT) If you say you love Jesus, you have no excuse to hate the people He has created in His very image. Therefore, if you are a Christ follower, you must love all people. Love is an action, that love needs to be lived out in service to those around us.
4) Preach Jesus
To eliminate injustice will require a real heart change. The root of injustice is sin. The root of racism lies in ignorance, hatred, and evil. The only permanent heart change a person can experience comes through the grace, love, and mercy of Jesus. If we want to see real change in our culture, we must repent of our own sin and then share the freedom we find in Jesus with those around us.
It is not loving to leave people in their sin. Matthew 18-20 states, “Jesus came and told His disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in Heaven and on Earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (NLT) The founder of the Foursquare Church, of which we are a part, Aimee Semple McPherson said, “What is my task? To get the Gospel around the world in the shortest possible time to every man and woman and boy and girl.” Because Sister Aimee (as she was called) knew that only Jesus could truly change lives, she further wrote, “Preach the Word! Preach the Word…til every man has heard.”
5) Lament and Mourn
Finally, to fight injustice, we must first recognize injustice. Once we see injustice, we can truly lament and mourn. We should lament and mourn the condition of our nation, and the improper treatment of people God loves (that is all people). To lament is to express deep sorrow and grief. Lamenting is a recognition of one’s suffering. The Bible is full of lament: one-third of the Psalms are songs of lament and the entire book of Lamentations is about just that topic. Biblical lament is a way of grieving over sin and injustice. It is to feel and empathize with the pain and plight of another.
To mourn and lament will require us to do our best to have difficult and painful conversations with those who are hurting. Romans 12:15b reminds believers to “weep with those who weep.” (ESV). To lament will require that we recognize our own brokenness and the brokenness of the culture in which we live. Matthew 5:4 — “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” The church, in general, has the rejoicing down, but suffers in its ability to mourn. As we see recent events, our hearts should be broken for those who are mistreated and abused. We should mourn and cry out. Lamenting and mourning leads to healing and wholeness. When brokenness is addressed and mourned, it allows for restoration. Psalm 30:5b — “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (NLT) We can have hope that following a time of national mourning, joy and blessing will come.