Jesus and justice can go hand in hand. Jesus always spoke directly to the marginalized. He never brushed over their pain and hurt. He invited them to eat and walk with Him.
He told them that they mattered.
Yet the very people who are supposed to be most like Jesus, fall short of this example. In fact, they are pretty much silent on the issues of racism and police brutality that affect their brothers and sisters in Christ and therefore, weighs heavily on God’s heart.
There are several scriptures that would question this silence.
1. The Parable of the Lost Sheep (Matthew 18:12-14)
12“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”
Jesus said that He would leave the 99 sheep for the one. He never once said, “Well #allsheepmatter so looks like the one lost sheep will not get the attention it desperately needs.” No. Although Jesus cares for all of His sheep, when one of them is in need (let’s call that one the black sheep), He goes searching for the one. He realizes that the other sheep are important, that they have needs and other issues, but in that moment, the black sheep needs to be found. The black sheep needs to feel safe, loved and rejoiced over. It’s not His will to see another one of His black sheep perish.
Hey, Jesus said it, not me.
2. Mourn With Those Who Mourn (Romans 12:15)
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
If I’m at a funeral and bring up a death that I’ve experienced in my family to the grieving family, that’s considered to be rude. The grieving family doesn’t need to hear about other issues at that moment, they need to have time to mourn for their loss. And frankly, I should be joining them in that process.
Similarly, #blacklivesmatter is not meant to be a movement that points fingers at other issues, like “black-on-black crime” or terrorism, it’s meant to be a peaceful movement addressing the sanctity and the loss of black lives at the hands of police – the people paid to protect us.
The answer is never hate. Repaying evil for evil is wrong. Murder is always wrong. And justice – true justice is always right. Be sure not to make police brutality cases about you and your politics. Do what is honorable. Mourn with the hurting. Mourn with those experiencing loss and actively pursue peace in the process.
3. Deliver From The Hand Of The Oppressor (Jeremiah 22:3)
“Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.”
I’m saddened that the church decided to step up and “BE the church” when police lives were in danger, but not “BE the church” on the several other counts of black lives that were endangered by police. That’s called picking sides, which many Christians claimed was the reason they could not bring themselves to say #blacklivesmatter. We shouldn’t be biased in the injustices we bring to light. It’s not picking sides. It’s doing justice and joining in the freeing of the oppressed. It’s acknowledging that black people are included in God’s creation when He said, “It was good.” The Lord hinted in this scripture that the ‘different” people, the minorities, were prone to be violated and so He called for action to make it right. You can’t make it right if you won’t even acknowledge the root issue. Innocent blood is being shed and the deliverance is in your hands. What will you do about it?
4. Do Justice (Micah 6:8)
“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?”
Yes, America needs JESUS. But America also needs JUSTICE. He requires it of us. This is not the key to high moral standing. This is simply the fundamental expectation to be a good, decent human being. Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly with God. These requirements are all active verbs that should be applied to all people and all circumstances, especially those who a
36″Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails.
Even if you don’t understand everything that’s going on in this world, reach out to those you know in the affected communities. Like you would for anything else, check in to see how your friends are doing. Ask questions. Sympathize. Listen. I’m sure they’ve been times where you were going through something that no one really understood or could even relate to, but your friends still checked in on you. It’s not only the Christian-like thing to do or what you would want someone to do for you – – it’s the right thing to do. Love your neighbor as yourself. Be the definition of love to your black neighbors. Protect, trust, hope and persevere with the black community. Love like Jesus does. Love will never fail you.
The church has to wake up. We have some work to do. Over 100 black individuals have died this year alone due to police brutality and yet many Christians stay silent. A blanket statement social media post that doesn’t even state the names of the recent police brutality victims does NOT cut it.
Check your heart, church. Jesus stands for #blacklivesmatter and many causes like it and so should you. Let’s do our best to right the wrongs of this world.