Before Jesus ascended up into the Heavens, his last words of advice to his disciples were ‘you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ [Acts 1:8]
For the past two months, Just Love has been focusing on the topic of ‘Calling’, looking into what is our calling as a Christian community, how we can incorporate our calling into our daily university lives and how we all have personal callings. The verse inspiring this notion of calling comes from Ephesians 4:1 – ‘I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.’ To help you with the definition of ‘calling’, some synonyms are lifework, summation, vocation, mission and walk of life. From what I can gather from the above synonyms is a sense that a calling is 1. Something that God is instructing us to do 2. It is our job 3. It is lifelong and daily.
As an organisation, Just Love operates under the calling of social justice.
Social justice is a complex, broad term to define as it means different things to different people. For some, social justice is politically fuelled. For others, social justice means ‘Black Lives Matter’ or ‘Love Wins’. All of these things are social justice. What is asserted at the core of social justice is equality and fairness amongst society on a local and global scale. Furthermore social justice can be measured by a number of factors such as the distribution of wealth, social rights such as healthcare and education and individual opportunity. Another aspect of social justice is reciprocity. When one fulfils their societal role, they receive what is due from society. In other words, we get what we deserve.
But what is the Christian stance on social justice, might you ask? Just as God is the God of Love, he is also one of Mercy and Justice – ‘all his ways are justice’ [Deuteronomy 32:4] Just because God is loving, it doesn’t mean that He overlooks sin. Scattered throughout the Bible, there are examples were Jesus and God stand up for and defend the outcasts and marginalised of society; those who face social injustice. Such examples include the diseased, the poor, and women – and today these groups of people continue to face injustice. As we are called to be God’s witnesses to the earth, we are instructed to ‘Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.’ [1 Corinthians 11:1] Since Christ stood for social justice, then as imitators of Christ, we shall do the same.
We are all one in Christ therefore we are all equal – ‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’ [Galatians 3:28] Christianity is universal. Christianity is for everyone regardless of their gender, race, religion or social status. In Christ we are a family. A family that looks out for each other, bringing justice among each other.
What it all comes down to is LOVE. Social justice is rooted in and motivated by LOVE. Love ‘Heals The World’ as inspired by MJ’s infamous song. In a polluted, corrupted world we are led to ask ourselves ‘Where is the Love?’ [I’ll stop with the name-dropping…] God calls us to ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ [Mark 12:31] Your neighbour doesn’t just mean your flatmate or the person who lives in the house beside yours but this extends to the population of the world! Your brothers and sisters who were created fearfully and wonderfully by God himself!
Supporting and promoting social justice acts as a foothold to evangelism. People may ask why do you stand for this? Why do you live in this way? Through our activism, God can provide further opportunities to sharing His Word.
‘Live such good lives among the pagans, that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.’ [1 Peter 2:12]
Think of love as Jesus’ currency. While social justice in our world has a focus on materialistic distribution such as wealth, and while social rights such as education and healthcare are extremely important, Christianity offers better rewards than the world could ever offer. These are the rewards of love, grace and eternity – ‘an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade’ As well as the physical needs, the Christian perspective of social justice also focuses on the spiritual needs.
Social justice is a Christ-like thing.
Can you practice what you preach?
‘Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.’ [Ephesians 5:1]
Words by Ellen Anderson