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29 September 2017

For I, the Lord, love justice

Chioma Fanawopo is team leader of Release Potential, the student and young people's ministry from Release International. 

This past week, there have been many stories around justice in the news and around the world.  In the USA, the controversy around NFL players kneeling during the national anthem in protest against racial injustice; in Kurdistan, a majority voted for independence from Iraq, seeking political justice; in Myanmar, the thousands of ethnic Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution, looking for human justice 

The Bible is full of references to justice - iIsaiah we see an abundance of principles for us as Christians to follow: Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows." (Isaiah. 1:17); "Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless." (Isaiah 10: 1-3); “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them." (Isaiah 61:8). 

We are called to fight for justice like our God of justice, unite against injustice and help the oppressed: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice” (Proverbs 31: 8-9) 

So how can we as Christians respond to injustice?  

This August I experienced first-hand how Christians can support others when I took a team of young adults on a mission trip tsouth east Asia. There we met believers who are persecuted for their faith. But their passion for God despite their suffering really inspired us and I was proud of the work that Christian organisations do to raise awareness of such suffering. It can be simple things like providing Bibles, giving people access to God's word, or it can be more complicated like speaking up at parliament's and to leaders around the world. We were all inspired and were thankful for simple freedoms we enjoy, such as freedom to meet with other believers and own a Bible. 

How can you make a difference to one person at a time and have those difficult conversations about injustice? It doesn't come naturally to us to spend our social time talking about the painful injustices we see around us, but those difficult conversations can lead us to taking action together, to follow God's example as we "love justice". Loving justice doesn't always mean trips around the world or audiences with political leaders – sometimes it can just be asking your friends what injustice we see around us, and asking what we can do to seek justice instead. 

Maybe a conversation with someone who we wouldn't usually interact with will open our eyes to different kind of injustice that we had no idea about. How different would our lives look if we were willing to see the hidden injustices around us and to use our voice to raise awareness about the plight of others?  

So how can you love justice this weekend? Even if you start small, start. 


If you want to think more about how we can seek justice in our communities, take a look at our new What kind of society? resource here.