‘Created’ is the first verb in the Bible, and the primary thing we know about God is that he creates. To be made in God’s image is therefore to be creative. To be filled with his Spirit is to overflow with his imagination and celebration. To be a Christian is to live positively and not destructively, to make ugly things beautiful, and to make chaos meaningful.
Some people think that those of us who believe in social justice don’t believe in prayer, that we don’t pray enough. They think that because they don’t really understand what prayer is. They think it’s something that you do at a set time; that it’s just asking God for what you want. But prayer is more than that. Prayer is listening for God’s answer. It’s that intimate practice of asking according to His will and moving as He directs. I love the words of this song, “Lead me, guide me, along the way. For if you lead me, I cannot stray. Lord, let me walk each day with thee. Lead me, O Lord, lead me.” That’s what prayer is.
God has always wanted the vulnerable in society to be cared for. He never intended for them to languish in poverty, abuse, slavery, homelessness, or other types of devastation. When we care for individuals who are trapped in these ways, when we show them love and help them move toward freedom and wholeness, we participate in bringing a little part of God’s Kingdom back into alignment with His greater plan. We do justice and God smiles.
Bible-based, Spirit-led social action is absolutely necessary in transformation process. Simply preaching without accompanying good works will not do it. Preaching will get people saved, but cities will not be transformed (much less nations), because the proclamation of the Gospel has to be validated by deeds that benefit society.
Race, justice, and biblical worship: “Take away from me the noise of your songs. But let justice roll down like waters…” (Amos 5:23-24). We are fooling ourselves if we think God is pleased while we sing our songs and stay silent about injustice.
It is most unfortunate that when the split between liberal and conservative believers took place in the last century, the liberals kept the social agenda and the conservatives kept the Scriptures, generally speaking. This resulted in one stream speaking up for social justice, without an accompanying emphasis on a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and the other stream being very Bible centred, particularly when it comes to the point of being born again, yet being dismissive of the social aspects of the Gospel for fear of the so-called social gospel. These two streams ended up opposing rather than complementing each other.
Wherever the voice of the church is silent, the voice of the enemy is loud!
My mother would take the Band-Aid off, clean the wound, and say, “Things that are covered don’t heal well.” Mother was right. Things that are covered do not heal well.