Best I can remember, I have always had sensitivity for people in need and I have always been open to people from all different walks of life. When I was growing up I would see the problems in the world and I would hurt inside when I would see how people treated each other and how we treated our planet. I guess you can say that I was one of those bleeding hearts. Back a few years ago I learned that in all my compassion and all my “feelings” for people in need, I was only seeing half the picture when it comes to doing something about it. I learned that God does view the world with compassion. But he also views it with justice. If you study God’s compassion and justice in the Bible, you would be hard pressed to find any situation where God separates the two. Perhaps most importantly, I learned that there is a Godly compassion and justice that goes beyond the finite view of compassion and justice that we might see in the social systems of our world.
To open my mind and my heart, on His compassion and justice, God brought amazing new mentors and friends into my life, and he brought me throughnewexperiences. One example of this was in the Summer of 2005 when 25 leaders from Willow Creek Community Church, a predominantly White church, and 25 leaders from Salem Baptist Church, a predominantly African American church all loaded a bus to go on the a journey called the Justice Journey…We traveled through many of the routes
and locations where Martin Luther King traveled with the Freedom Riders in the 1960s.
God opened eyes and transformed hearts on that journey that ended with leaders from both of our churches walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma Alabama. We walked arm and arm together in peace. Just 40 years before this event, that same act ended in tremendous bloodshed and pain. On that journey I forged some deep friendships, gained a deep admiration for so many heroes who sacrificed and even died for the cause of Godly justice and I learned from some amazing Godly people.
People like Dr. John Perkins, who accompanied us on that Journey, taught me that Go
dly justice looks to make things right when one person blocks another person’s access to the blessings God intends for everyone. He pointed me to Isaiah 58:6-7 and Isaiah 58:10 :
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him and not to turn away from your own flesh andblood? Isaiah 58:6-7
“And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. Isaiah 58:10”
Since then, my family and I continue to travel on this Justice Journey. I truly believe that living out a personal mission of justice is a critical part of God’s great commission as illustrated in Matthew 28:19-20. For me a mission like this adds power, definition and credibility to the words of Jesus when he says in John 14:12, I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these…
I once heard Gary Haugen, president of the international Justice Mission speak on this, I was inspired by how he illustrated God’s plan when he said,
“How are people oppressed by injustice in our world supposed to believe that God is good. In fact if you think about this question…What is God’s plan for making it believable. That he is good, for those who are suffering and hurting in our world.”
It turns out that the bible says…we are his plan…and that God doesn’t have another plan.
God says in Matthew 5:14,16 that we are the light of the world…”Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” This is not just a trite little bible verse that you learn in Sunday school. God’s call for all of us let our light shine is a call to engagement, it is call action, it is a call toward compassion, and it is a call toward justice.
To my core I believe that Jesus is the path to God and the path to real transformation in our world. I also believe if more people met the real Jesus more people would accept that truth. My question is, do we as “Christians” portray who Jesus really is to to world around us. If Jesus is the path to God then perhaps living out a life of true, Biblical compassion and justice is the path toward letting the world see the who Jesus really is in all the fullness of His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control.
The world is not longing for religion, it is not longing for some new religious experience, it yearns for Godly compassion and justice where the blessings that God intends for everyone are not blocked by anyone.