Why Should I ‘Do Justice’?
Two motivations to stop procrastinating, and start loving.
What do you procrastinate about?
I love to procrastinate about a couple of things... the first is cleaning. I know that having a clean room is important (do your parents bug you about your room?) but sometimes I just can’t get motivated to do anything about it. Clothes everywhere. Shoes on the floor. Don't care.
The second is work. When I have things to organise or difficult people to deal with, sometimes I’d rather check Facebook, read someone's blog or go to a Cafe and read a book.
What I need is some motivation, like...
"If you don’t clean your room, you’ll be grounded! If you don’t do exercise you’ll get fat!"
What has all this got too do with doing justice?
There are lots of reasons that you might have for doing justice. It’s important though that your motivations are Biblical - that is they come from the Bible.
Biblical reasons for doing justice
Here are two great reasons to get motivated for doing justice.
Motivation #1: A joyful response to the goodness of God’s creation.
All human beings, are made in the image and likeness of God. Genesis 1:26-27 says:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;male and female he created them.
This means that everyone should be treated equally and have the same opportunities as everyone else. Regardless of their record or character, all human beings have an irreducible glory and significance to them, because God loves them, and everything he has made (Psalm 145:8, 17).
Being made in God’s image also means that we are made to rule. This comes from the next verse in Genesis 1:28:
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
This doesn’t mean that we own everything in creation but that God gives us authority over creation to use it for his glory.
Practically this means that all the stuff that you have - your toys, your money, your possessions - are actually God’s. He has given them to you and he wants you to share them with other people.
Just as he has been generous to us in his creation, he wants us to be generous towards others.
Motivation #2: Our own experience of God’s grace and his Salvation
As important and wonderful as God’s creation is, the most repeated motivation for doing justice is the grace of God given to us in Jesus.
In Romans 3:24, Paul explains how we are saved, and become God’s friends: "... [We] are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."
Having been saved by grace through Jesus, we show our thanks to God in doing the good works that he wants us to do. In James 2 we read this:
"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
What this means is that given we are saved by grace this grace shapes the way we live, especially the way we treat others, and in particular those who are poor and vulnerable.
As author Tim Keller reminds us "...when Christians who understand the gospel see a poor person, they realize they are looking in to a mirror. Their hearts must go out to him or her without an ounce of superiority or indifference."
We are all poor, some physically and materially, whilst others are spiritually poor. They do not know the Gospel and the grace of Jesus.
What will it mean for you to “look in the mirror” and act justly this week?
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