There is a movement rising up throughout the world today. It’s name? Social Justice. More and more we are aware of the atrocities of modern day slavery and we can actually make a difference. This is incredible.
The reality about social justice is that it gives us practical things to do. Injustice is something that has touched each of our lives. It feels tangible. We can host a clothing drive, serve a meal at the homeless shelter, volunteer our hours for a fundraiser, or become a mentor. It is overwhelming to see a need and not do something. We are in a season where justice is a true felt need and there are things we can do. The social justice movement has provided a way to respond in very real ways. What I see is that some of these efforts have become the new program or ministry of the church. It feels like revival. But is it? If we are a follower of Christ, and are passionate about social justice, then we must ask ourselves this, "Has the social justice movement become our gospel?" Before I lose you, let me explain. In the western church, many people have never seen a miracle, witnessed a deliverance, or seen someone healed. When was the last time we heard a testimony of how Jesus saved and transformed someone’s life? We get saved and then get comfortable attending church every week. But deep down we know there is more.
The church often struggles to keep young people engaged or bring in those who have been hurt by Christianity. We want to engage but we are afraid. We are afraid because the name of Jesus has been connected to rejection, betrayal, and a black and white morality. The name of Jesus is often tagged to political parties, and if you stand for a particular belief, one camp says you are “unsaved” and it is concluded that you are “lost”, an “outsider”, “going to hell.” We are conflicted by the Jesus we are taught about and the Jesus we personally know. So we stop most of our evangelism efforts, we do Vacation Bible Schools for the local kids, but we are hesitant to tell anyone that Jesus is the One who can change their life, give them a fresh start, and the power to stay clean. Does anyone relate, or is this just me?
Then we hear about an injustice like human trafficking and our heart is stirred.
One of the reasons I became involved with anti trafficking efforts was because I wanted to see women experience true inner healing and freedom. But how could this happen if she was exploited, lived with a sexual predator, was verbally or mentally harassed, was caught in the trap of believing she deserved to be used, or that selling herself is the best way to pay the bills? Social justice IS needed. We need agencies where women can find protection, those who will help them find new housing, jobs, and provide backpacks for their kids. But there is so much more!
As followers of Jesus Christ, our efforts for justice must include an encounter with Jesus and who He truly is. In order for this to happen, we need to encounter who He is for us. If our impression of Jesus is that He was a “good teacher” who went about confronting religious leaders and advocating for the oppressed, we have only seen the humanity of Jesus. We also need to encounter the deep work He did spiritually for our hearts.
What is the gospel? The message of the gospel is that Jesus Christ was sent to set us free from our sin and the power of Satan. This is the greatest act of justice the world has ever seen. Everything He did affirmed His defeat of death and decay. He liberated our spirits for all of eternity. This eternal liberty is expressed through physical healing, deliverance from tormenting demons, breakthroughs in our lives in areas that feel impossible. He is a miracle working Jesus.
When we offer social justice to someone and leave out the gospel of freedom that Jesus offered, our efforts are good and well intentioned, but void of power.
Part of a spiritual encounter with Jesus is allowing Him to touch our hearts. There are many advocating for authentic vulnerability. And there is Someone who has gone before us in this. Have you met the Liberator whose words strip off shame and uncover true worth and identity? There is no mess that is too much for Him. I want to propose that it is those who are risking emotional authenticity and facing the wounds and lies that have influenced their lives who are the true justice workers. It is not about pushing Jesus down someone's throat to get them saved. It is about being healed and touched by Jesus so that we cannot help but speak words of life and healing into someone's life who has come out of the atrocity of modern day slavery. I personally believe that Jesus Christ is speaking to us today, that He wants to have a conversation with us in real time, to speak words to our minds and hearts that will radically set us free. It is from this place of true encounter with Jesus, that will fuel the social justice movement with POWER.
You can start today by asking Him, Jesus, is there an area in my heart that You want to touch?
Remember that His words are not condemning or dehumanizing. His words instill peace and lead you into deeper truths about who God created you to be, and who He is for you and your situation.
I am excited about the social justice movement because I believe that it provides us with the opportunity to engage with a broken humanity. Today, would you take a moment to stop and remember that there is power in the name of Jesus. Let’s encounter who He really is so that the movement of social justice is also the gospel of eternal freedom.