The Standard of Justice
In almost every silent moment for the past several days the question: “How do I respond to all of this injustice?”, has been haunting me. It’s been somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster searching for an adequate answer to that question. I have felt angry, defensive, protective, nauseated, annoyed, frustrated, outraged and exhausted. Nonetheless, I am realizing that I expect more from myself than mild behavior changes. I think Christ himself expects more. And I do not take that last statement lightly. I do not dare attribute some irrational emotional high or low I have to the character and desire of God. I look to the Scriptures, asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten my mind as I seek to understand his truth the way He intended it to be understood and cry out for the mercy and grace to wield His word as the Sword of Truth in our culture.
What I mean by “more than mild behavior changes” is this. In Matthew chapters 5-7 Jesus preaches the Sermon on the Mount, teaching his disciples amongst a crowd. Starting in verses 21 through 48 of chapter 5, Jesus practically takes a hammer to everything his audience formerly knows to be the proper standard of “righteousness”, as it pertains to the Old Testament Law. Then he raises it to the next level. He begins with murder (verses 21-22a):
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment;"
Jesus points out that it is not sufficient for us to say 'we have not committed murder therefore we should escape judgement'. Instead, he reveals to us that if we simply have anger in our hearts towards a brother, we fall under the same condemnation of he who has murdered. Throughout the rest of chapter 5 Jesus flips their misconceptions of the Law of Moses on their head for the purpose of revealing humanity’s heart to his disciples. He states earlier in the text that He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it (verse 17). And further asserts in verse 20,
Exceeds? Ouch! As if that’s not enough, the chapter ends with verse 48 calling his disciples to be “perfect just as our Father in heaven is perfect”. The standard Jesus sets, as seen in just one example taken from his Sermon on the Mount, cannot be accomplished apart from the power of reconciliation He accomplished for us on the cross. First, he reconciled us, unholy sinners to himself, a holy God. Hallelujah! Second, his death on the cross reconciled us to our brothers and sisters:
“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-20a
To state this as simply as I can: there will not be full justice and full reconciliation of the horrific evil done to the black community for hundreds of years apart from Christ. Mere behavioral changes are simply not enough. Unless we have had a radical shift in our hearts and minds to understand the intrinsic value placed on black people because they are crafted in the image of Almighty God, just the same as all of humanity, we will never meet the sufficient standard of fairness they deserve. But Praise God, this is our ministry as Christians, the ministry of reconciliation. If we have already been reconciled to Christ, we have the power to reconcile with all people. So let's (freakin') do it!
To my dear friends that deny Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, I know you see this evil. I’ve seen you post about it. I’ve seen you hurting over it, as you should. I know you see this injustice. I beg you to truly consider how well you or any number of people could redeem all of this evil apart from divine justice. The standard is not just “don’t be racist” “don’t be mean” and “don’t kill”. The standard is to love perfectly. The world is crying out for perfect love and full equality, not just “niceness”. Repent and believe in Jesus Christ, the only way for you and this world to experience perfect love.
To my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, do not kid yourself. Apart from Christ, you and I are condemned as well. We are guilty without the shed blood of Jesus. We are guilty of racism and much more when we live apart from Him. I do not attempt to give a detailed response of all the ways God is desiring each individual Christian to respond. I do believe there are specific things the Holy Spirit will convict individual people to reform in their spheres of influence and I implore you to seek those things out. But, there is a strong list of things we should have already been doing collectively before we had to have the news wake us up to the stark realities of racism and evil in our world. We should daily be: trusting in Christ; burying our noses into the pages of scripture; blistering our knees in prayer; and actively seeking to deny ourselves and elevate God in all areas of life.
DISCIPLHER's intent is to equip believers with resources to help them engage in deeper, more intentional discipleship. When it comes to this topic, the media is flooded with resources and voices, a lot of which are incredible. For that purpose, the one resource I offer to you in light of current events is the Holy Bible. If you do not have a Bible and would like one click here , fill out the Continue the Conversation form with your name/email. In the message box tell me you'd like a Bible and how I can get it to you.