Living a Life of Social Justice
Story by Bill Miller
For many, social justice is a volatile subject. Some feel the time for open and honest, even painful, discussion has not yet arrived. As followers of Christ, our privilege is to create an environment where we can discuss and live out a biblical perspective of justice. As theologian Russell D. Moore says, “The gospel drives us to an understanding that the ultimate accounting of justice doesn’t rest with the state, or with ourselves, but with the Judgment Seat of the kingdom of God.”
For the past year, our pastors, teachers and staff have been discussing and learning what justice means from the perspective of the gospel. God expects our engagement with the community, and, as His people, we have the responsibility to be compassionate, filled with integrity and a strong voice for those who cannot speak. We are reminded, “God’s Spirit is on me; He’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce, ‘This is God’s year to act!’” (Luke 4:18, MSG).
Jesus did not simply talk about service; He was actively engaged in it. Our “Cultivate” initiative is based on this principle, challenging our members to listen to the needs of their communities and reach beyond the church walls. Many have responded with evangelism series, food banks, health fairs and clothes drives.
Recently, some of our churches, such as the Seabrook church in Lanham, Md.; Restoration Praise Center in Bowie, Md.; and the Washington Spanish church in Silver Spring, Md., have held classes, panels and discussions that answer questions regarding the rights and privileges of those affected by ever-changing immigration practices. A conference-sponsored event will be taking place in English and Spanish that includes roundtable discussions with lawyers, case workers, counselors and representatives from local, state and federal government agencies to answer in-depth questions. This is one example of what social justice looks like—extending mercy and a voice to those who may not feel safe to speak, and reaching out in kindness to those who are hurting and scared.
In Micah 6:8, God plainly states what He is looking for in believers. “It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously—take God seriously” (MSG). It’s our prayer that our members and students will be the bold ambassadors the Bible calls us to be