Are You A Social Justice Christian? Here’s Where You’re Going Wrong
Turn on any news channel, political podcast or talk radio show and you will most likely hear about a thing called social justice. I remember hearing the term for the first time several years ago and thinking “Well, that sounds nice,” maybe I should jump on that train.
Several years and thousands of debates later, I have realized that the social justice movement isn’t about justice at all.
First, let’s define what justice actually is. I’ve always understood justice to be “getting what you deserve.” God is a just God right? As fallen and imperfect people we have gone against the laws of God. Our sinful nature often causes us to ‘break’ the laws and ideas that God desires we live by. In fact, justice is at the center of the human story. We all fall short and because of that, we all deserve death? Still with me?
While it’s true that God offers redemption and grace to those who accept it, that doesn’t mean that He is any less just. His justice is absolute and those who do not accept His free gift will suffer the consequences of that decision. That is justice in it’s purest form. Justice is getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t.
The idea of social justice has always confused me. If justice is the end game, then everyone should get what they deserve. If social justice was true to its name then nothing should be given that was not earned.
The modern-day idea of social justice revolves around the idea that the government or the “collective” are responsible for creating an equal playing field for everyone. It replaces the individual as the dispensary for compassion and grace. That is not justice at all.
The truth is, the man-made idea of social justice forces people to be compassionate, which isn’t compassion at all. At some point along the way, we gave up on the idea of personal responsibility. Even as Christians, we began to blame others for our problems. We blamed T.V. shows for teaching our kids to be smart alecks, we blamed rap music for teaching our teenagers bad language. We blamed the NFL for declining church attendance. And through all this “culture blaming” we forgot to blame the ones who are actually to blame. Ourselves.
I would argue that the Bible teaches personal responsibility almost as much as it teaches about giving grace, love, and compassion.
“The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them” – Ezekiel 18:20
Jesus spent time talking about the principle of reaping what you sow. What does that mean? It is simply about taking responsibility for yourself, your family and your church.
If you really believe in “social justice” it’s time for you to start acting like it. When we allow the government to replace the church and individual charity and grace, we lose our power to REALLY make a difference in this world. If your idea of being a good Christian is to yell and protest that those rich people help the poor, you have missed the entire point of what it means to follow Christ.
If I can be frank (as if I haven’t already) one of the major reasons the church, in general, is in decline is because Christians have put the responsibility of caring for the weak, poor, and lost on other people. Churches used to be the FIRST place people in need went to. Now it seems like the welfare office is the first place. That is not how it should be. If we want to see a revolution in the church, it will start with individuals and their local faith communities standing up and actually caring for people.
In closing, I would like for every Christ follower to look at themselves. Look and ask if you are really concerned for those with less than you? Are you concerned for those who’ve been mistreated? Are you concerned for the widows? If you think you would answer yes to those questions, ask what YOU can do. Don’t call your senator, don’t look for someone to blame. Rally your church and community to really make a difference. But please don’t rally and scream that “those other people” carry that burden. That’s not what Jesus would do.