It may come as a surprise to many of you, especially of those who know me really well, that my express goal or purpose in life is not to see social justice and reconciliation realized. I know that is quite a shocker given practically everything that I write or talk about but truth be told that is not my aim. My desire for social justice, for reconciliation is rooted in something so much bigger – the glorification of the name of Jesus.
I take Jesus’ prayer in John 17 quite seriously. It is a long prayer and so I wont rehearse it all here, but in it he prays that his followers would exemplify unity and love so that the world would believe that he is real. The world, or people who don’t follow Christ, is much better at connecting the dots here as the Church, or rather those who represent it, don’t often act in loving ways. In fact, if we are honest with ourselves, we have perpetuated a lot of injustice, including but not limited to war, genocide, colonization, slavery, poverty, and segregation. When people on the outside of the church look at these things, not only are they discouraged by what they see but they do not want to have anything to do with it. As a result, people are not coming to know the Lord, something I deem absolutely essential.
My desire is to re-write the narrative. I cannot change history, but with people of like mind and heart, I can affect the future. I desire to see the injustices of this day, injustices that we see in our political system that creates classes of have and have nots, injustices that force a mother to choose between putting gas in her car so she can get to work or food on her table so that her children can eat, injustices that breed corrupt foreign governments, injustices that wipe out entire people groups, put to an end so that as few barriers exist for people coming to know the Lord. I desire to see racial and ethnic divides destroyed so that people begin to live in unity instead of in fear of the other. I desire to see this because the alternative is just too much to bear- people living lives here on earth and in eternity, is just not an option for me. I hope that it is neither an option for you.
Would that we as a church begin to take a stand against these things, the things that break the heart of God, instead of standing for systems that prohibit people from coming into the kingdom of God! THIS is why, I do what I do!