"Justice is what love looks like when it faces the problems its neighbors face."
We have arrived at a pivotal moment in history that will undoubtedly shape where and how we move forward from here.
There are so many things that can be said about the numerous layers and perspectives to the recent racial uprisings in our nation; too much for one blog and one conversation to cover. And there is so much I want to personally say that cannot be fully captured here as I struggle to collect and share my thoughts and emotions over the unrest that has arrested the world in the last 2 weeks.
So now, the question many are asking is where do we go from here? Social, economic, and police reforms are certainly on that agenda; as is hard dialogue, forging new relationships, repentance, forgiveness, unity, and on and on.
While there are many scriptures that we can reference for guidance during these times, one of those that has been loud in my ears during these last weeks is Micah 6.8:
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion), and to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness] — Micah 6.8
Or to summarize it: Seek justice. Love compassion. And walk humbly with your God.
Justice Is Love In Action
Sometimes, I feel like we as Christians buy into the idea that love is always this pretty picture that’s neat, clean, and meek. But our Gospel is one of love, a loud love, that includes redemption and justice, in ways that aren’t always easy or pretty. Real love is often a messy affair because it means getting dirty.
Justice is what love looks like when it faces the problems its neighbors face. Justice is doing what’s right and equitable. Justice is standing up for who and what is important to God.
The God that left the 99 sheep for the one is the same God that believes Black lives matter. Why this statement (not the organization) is offensive to some is perplexing. One truth doesn’t diminish another. All lives matter to God but that was never the question. If Black lives don’t matter then all lives can’t matter.
“The human body was designed by God in such a way that when there is a severe injury or wound to an extremity, it immediately begins diverting attention and organic resources to the site of the injury. Then it attracts other cells in an effort to protect the body. Our natural bodies demonstrate a spiritual reality. If one portion of the body is in peril, the entire body is at risk.” — Detroit Church
The body of Christ is wounded and at risk of greater injury and infection. And it will take justice, compassion, repentance, and humility in love and submission to God (obedience) to “fix us.”
How Do We Move Forward?
What we cannot do is allow this moment to pass unchanged and uncorrected. We just make what’s important to God important to us.
We must love our neighbors as ourselves. Until it hurts. Because real love is sacrificial. It doesn’t run away but faces the problems its neighbors face.
We must thirst for and deliver justice in every way: socially, economically, politically, and more.
We must listen and care. We must re-examine what we thought we knew. We must hear each other.
If unity and peace are ever going to be attainable, like God, we must lead with grace and truth.
We must love compassion and mercy. We must be concerned about who and what God is concerned about.
We must lay down any and every identity that supersedes our identity in Him.
And we must walk humbly with our God. Our God. He is ours and we are His. We must love who and what God loves and hate what God hates. We must break our hearts of the things that break His heart. We must walk with Him, allowing Him to lead — not ahead of Him.
Walking Humbly With God
Walking humbly with God also means repentance; repentance (turning away) not just for what we’ve done but for those that came before us, turning away from the paths that have led us to today. Repentance means turning away and actively helping to dismantle systems and injustices that don’t love our neighbors.
To walk humbly with God is to walk in step with Him. In the face of injustices, who will we walk with and who will we look like when this is over?