Jesus Made Me Do It: Why I HAVE to Talk About Social Justice
The other day I was a guest on a podcast, and the guy interviewing me asked if the church should care about social justice, and if so, why? Luckily, he’d sent me the questions ahead of time, so I was able to answer quickly: I had 18 pages worth of scripture references that I’d just printed off in my hot little hands, just from doing a quick Google search: “justice + the bible.”
In other words, if your’re a Bible believing Christian, you should care about social justice, too.
In OTHER other words, if you’re a Bible believing Christian, you should be bleeding heart liberal pacifist, kneeling-on-the-football field snowflake. Because Jesus sure was. And so were all the prophets before him.
(I’d like to see someone call Jesus a snowflake. If you ever build a time machine, please take me for that trip.)
Go ahead and try and show me a place in the Bible where Jesus said, “Do not welcome the stranger.” (Then check your own personal immigration policy.)
Try to point to a time when God said, “Don’t take care of the poor.” (Then tell me how your ‘fiscal responsibility’ impacts your beliefs on so-called “entitlements” like welfare.)
Read the account of the crucifixion, and tell me what you think Jesus might say about the death penalty.
Check out the story of what happens in the Garden of Gethsemene, and then tell me Jesus digs your guns — yeah, even for self-defense.
Listen. I’d LOVE to be able to kick back and not worry about this stuff. I’d love nothing more than to not have to worry about the Black Lives Matter movement, about immigrants fleeing violence in other countries, about the poor and the hungry and the mourning. I’d LOVE to be able to ignore them.
But many years ago, there was this moment when I pledged to follow this poor, brown-skinned, immigrant refugee who was a convicted criminal sentenced to death and legally murdered by a stated sanctioned method encouraged by the religious leaders of the day. When I decided to follow him, something weird happened to my heart. It got — I dunno — steely. It got solid. It got all-of-a-sudden-you-can-justify-all-you-want-but-this-shit-ain’t-right-and-I’m-not-gonna-be-quiet kind of tough.
Now, it’s possible you’re almost there, too. It’s possible you know the price you’re going to pay when you stand up for justice. It’s possible that you have an idea, a vision, a way you want the world to be, and you’re ready to make it happen, because Jesus is making you do it. I get it. I’ve been there.
You’re not alone.