Social justice is a really common term in Church and in the world. Sometimes it is positive and sometimes people can even be attacked or trolled for it. But what does it actually mean, and why as Christians should we care about it?
Sadly, we live in a fallen world (Genesis 3). This means that things aren’t as they should be. It means that there is sin and suffering. Our actions can cause pain to people that we love, knowingly and unknowingly. Other people can hurt us.
On a larger scale, it means that humanity suffers. There is war, famine, poverty, homelessness, racism, discrimination, sexism and more. Creation and animals are also victims of the world’s fallen state.
It’s quite horrible to think about! But of course, there’s good news for us as Christians. We know that it won’t be this way forever. Thanks Jesus!
But if you look more carefully at the Bible, you’ll see that God doesn’t just care about where people will go after they die, He cares about what happens to them now. And that’s where social justice comes in…
Social justice is the idea of fair treatment and dignity for all human beings regardless of race, gender, economic background, education, faith or sexuality. It is the fight against all the big-scale suffering that we can experience in this world.
And God has been in the fight for thousands of years!
Way back in the Old Testament, God said to his people:
“This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.”
– Isaiah 58
Earlier when God is setting laws for the people of Israel, He tells them not to go all the way to the edge of their fields to collect crops. He says they should leave crops around the edges for poor people and foreigners to collect!
During Jesus’ time on earth, He fed people, He had compassion on those who were suffering, He stood up for women and so much more.
If we are following Christ, then we should be doing the same!
We may think that it is more important for people who are facing injustices to hear the Gospel and be saved than for us to feed them or help free them from being exploited.
But I think that one cannot be done without the other! As we physically help people who are in need, we have the opportunity to share our motivation for doing so (Jesus!). As we talk to them about the love of God, we also show it through our actions.
If you want to help out, there are plenty of ways to get involved. Check out: