I don’t know about you, but I am finding an interesting dynamic playing out in the church today and those loosely affiliated with the church among people concerned about social justice. As a result of a deep history of injustice, oppression, exploitation and slavery, some people are divorcing the Gospel from messages of social justice and reconciliation. And I get this, I understand the tendency for people to do this in that common sense advocates for people not to preach about the thing that has brought many communities pain over the years. Even so, one thing is ever so clear to me – we need the message of the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ preached not only with deeds but our words as well.
You see, our only hope, the only real hope that we have is in Him and the salvation He brings. As a result of His sacrifice on the cross, the power of sin and death are broken. It is only out of this reality that we even have the ability to see social justice and reconciliation realized in that in his death and resurrection, we are FIRST brought closer to God and then one another.
A message of social justice without the preaching of the Gospel, then, misses the very thing that gives it life and sustains it. Which means that we have to bear witness to it, otherwise we are doing people a huge disservice. We cannot allow the injustices of those who inadequately represented the church in the past and even in our present day, keep us from giving people the hope that they need. Because it is at the cross, only at the cross where we find our hope, our peace, our joy and any aim of justice worth fighting for.