Appetite for justice

“So, what we’re talking about here is human rights. The right to live like a human. The right to live, period. And what we’re facing in Africa is an unprecedented threat to human dignity and equality.” – Bono

From the common man to the celebrities, this generation we live in is, for some unknown reason, driven to fight against injustices. I believe that it is God who is steering our hearts and giving us an appetite for justice. But why?

There isn’t a reason why anyone should not be involved in fighting for a fellow human. Statistics do not determine the seriousness of the issue. Even if the stats are in the single digits, we should have the same appetite, because we are talking not only about a human but an image of God himself.

In 1997, I had the privilege of taking a tour of the largest church in the world, located in Korea and pastored by Paul Yonggi Cho.  One of the  things I remember learning from the tour is that they don’t share the gospel until they do three acts of kindness.  We see the power of the application of this value through the grand church growth they have had.

Likewise, Jesus never ignored the social needs of a person, he always met their immediate need and, in the process, he cared about the perishing soul of the individual.  He knew his mission: To make the dead alive to him.

The greatest compassion is going through the physical need to the inner person that is lost.

The heroes of our faith, Mother Teresa, William Wilberforce, William Carey, Amy Carmichael, Franklin Graham and others, were marked with Jesus style justice. They cared about the individual’s physical needs and spiritual needs.  It is not “either/or” but rather “both/and”.  These heroes had an eternal perspective.

The danger we face today is to pick the easy way out, which is to meet the physical need and do social justice, but ignore the greater need of a relationship with Jesus.

The life giving power comes from the message of the cross.

Stanley Jones, a missionary to India, once said, “An individual gospel without a social gospel is a soul without a body. A social gospel without an individual gospel is a body without a soul. The one is a ghost. The other is a corpse.”

Jesus did not give the people he met a ghost or a corpse but rather life.  We can’t offer life by just offering a social gospel.

The greatest injustice is when a person does not have an opportunity to hear, understand, and apply the gospel.

Do you have an appetite for justice?