The fact that our God is a God of justice doesn’t mean we just sit around waiting for Him to be just. We don’t watch boys being killed for being in the wrong skin* at the wrong time and say, “Don’t worry! God is a God of justice!”
We don’t watch governments murder and manipulate their people, raping and ravaging without consequence or accountability and tell those hurting, grieving, dead people, “Don’t worry! God is a God of justice.”
We don’t watch people get forced out of their homes, forced into debt because of medical bills they can’t afford to pay from medical procedures they couldn’t afford to go without. We don’t watch them being shunted by police from under the overpass to the park bench to prison. We don’t pass by the panhandler on the street, pat him on the arm and say, “Don’t worry! God is a just God.”
We don’t watch people risk their lives to come to the land of the free and the home of the brave only to be told they’re not free and to have all of their brave oppressed out of them by education gaps, prejudices, and ridiculous costs of higher education and try to make it all better by saying, “Don’t worry. God is a God of justice.”
No. If God is a just God and we are His people, then we are a just people. That means that when we watch oppression and slavery and abuse and all means of social injustice, that we feel a God-like wrath raise up within us. It means that injustices infuriate us, fire us up, move us to action. It means that we stand up with the power and might of a powerful and mighty God and declare, “Don’t worry. God is a just God and He is NOT okay with this and neither am I.” It means we stand alongside hurting people and declare, “Don’t worry. God is a just God and He LOVES you and so do I. We are going to do something about this together.”
It means we, as the people of a just God, are an educated people, an informed people, a compassionate people. It means we, as the people of a just God, are active participants in the bringing about of justice. It means we, as the people of a just God, do more than point fingers through the internet about “those people” and “them.” It means we, as the people of a just God, might have to feel a bit uncomfortable as we confront what we always thought was true. It means we, as the people of a just God, have to listen every once in a while instead of reciting those out of context Bible verses all the time. It means we, as the people of a just God, must admit that we don’t know everything. In fact, we know very little and we need other people’s help to learn how to do the right thing. Even and especially if those people from whom we are getting help are different than ourselves.
It means we, as the people of a just God, must say the following words often and sincerely: “Help me to understand.” It means we, as the people of a just God, must spend time with people different from ourselves. It means we, as the people of a just God, might have to change our minds about some things. It means we, as the people of a just God, might have to go without some of our comforts for the sake of another living, human being. It means we, as the people of a just God, might have to actually take God’s Word seriously. It means we, as the people of a just God, should start up a conversation and dare I say a relationship with the smelly man on the street. It means we, as the people of a just God, have to make hard decisions. Sometimes it means we, as the people of a just God, just have to grieve with a hurting family, a hurting people, a hurting nation, and speak the truth that “this is not what God intended.”
Yes, God is a God of justice. Praise Him, Hallelujah. Yes, God is a God at work. Praise Him, Hallelujah. And as His children, as His disciples we are called to be the same. Christians. Little Christs. People of justice. People who fight for justice, call for justice. People who name injustices and sit in the uncomfortableness and pain that are those injustices. A people at work for justice.
Praise Him, Hallelujah. Because He is a God of justice and He’s not sitting down and we shouldn’t be either. Praise Him, Hallelujah because we serve a just God, a God who empowers and instructs us to fight for justice, to not sit down until justice is truly executed and oppression is no more.
“For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds,
if you truly execute justice one with another,
if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow,
or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after
other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, i
n the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever. – Jeremiah 7:5-7
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom,
let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches,
but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me,
that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice,
and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight,
declares the Lord.” – Jeremiah 9:23-24
*Nobody actually has the wrong skin. If it’s keeping your insides inside, it’s the right skin and it’s good.