The idea of justice is a biblical theme. God is just. It is part of his nature. Following Christ means that we seek to reflect his nature. Jesus provides a beautiful example for us to follow in how to treat people, especially those who are marginalized. Consider how he interacted with the woman of Samaria, tax collectors like Levi, Roman military officers, lepers, and others who were despised and the objects of prejudice in his day. Jesus pursued justice and we are called to do the same.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
As Christians we are called to work for justice which includes racial justice. Watching the recent video from Minneapolis of a police officer’s knee on the neck of George Floyd, was one more example of the injustice that too many blacks experience in America. I remember a black classmate in seminary recounting his experience of being pulled over and questioned for driving through a Dallas neighborhood to attend a party. This was a party that I also attended without incident.
How do we seek justice and correct oppression? For starters, we do so by pointing it out when we see it. In cases like George Floyd, this is pretty obvious and easy. Yet more subtle prejudice and injustice is harder to spot, especially in ourselves. Jesus taught that sin has its’ root in the heart long before it surfaces through ugly words or actions.
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Matthew 15:19 ESV)
Jesus went on to say that it was out of the heart that sins grow.
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (Luke 4:9-12 NLT)
We can add racism to that list.
As I reflected on this heart-breaking incident and violence that has unfortunately followed, I have asked myself if there are roots of prejudice in me? Do I turn a blind eye to prejudices, simply because they do not affect me personally?
Corrie Ten Boom, herself the victim of injustice of a Nazi concentration camp, writes "The blood of Jesus never cleansed an excuse. When you bring your sins to Him for forgiveness, do not bring your excuses - come honestly in your need of Him.” Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place.
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the secret attitudes or prejudices that you have excused. Confess them and receive his cleansing, but don’t stop there. Commit to work for justice.
Yours In Christ,
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church