EMAIL THIS PAGE       PRINT       RSS      

Seek Justice

“Where exactly do you seek justice?”

“Seek Justice? I have no idea what that means.”


“Excuse me. Are you a law student?”

I sometimes wear a T-shirt from International Justice Mission that says Seek Justice on the front. Inevitably when I wear it, I get comments or questions about it. The above are some of what I’ve heard while wearing the shirt.

When I first bought the t-shirt, awhile back, never did I anticipate it would draw the attention it has as I sport it around town from time to time. Actually, the first time I wore the shirt on casual Friday’s around the office, it was a co-worker who stopped me to ask me “where exactly do you seek justice?” While I was completely caught off guard by the questions, thankfully the Holy Spirit was not and instantly this verse was brought to mind and so I responded with:

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Psalm 89:14.

My co-workers question that day is a really good question.

“Where exactly do you seek justice?”

I must admit I’ve been trying to figure that out for a while now. When I first heard there are more slaves in the world right now than in the entire trans-Atlantic slave trade altogether, I was stunned, shocked and frankly, paralyzed by what I learned to be true. It is estimated there are some 27 million men, women and children enslaved around the world today. Most are children and those who cannot defend themselves against exploitation.  Whether 27 million or 1, it’s wrong and unjust to force or coerce anyone in order to profit another. 

So what is justice and why should we seek it?

Singer David Crowder once quoted a friend of his speaking about justice in this illustration:

There’s a difference between compassion and justice. Compassion is when we’re all sitting on the side of a river watching people drown and we respond by pulling them out of the river. Justice is when somebody pokes their head up and says, “You know what? I’m going upstream and stop whoever is throwing these people into the river.”

I grew up in the church and never did really hear much about justice throughout scripture. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I learned the Bible has over 130 versus on justice. It was only about 2 ½ years ago that I discovered that by worship, God means living lives of justice. Meaning, lives that care for the poor, orphaned, oppressed and widowed.

To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. –Proverbs 21:3

Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen; to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? –Isaiah 58:6

I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream. –Amos 5: 21-24

Basically if we spend 1 hour at church on Sundays and even give a tithe but we don’t pay attention to the needy, the orphaned, the enslaved and oppressed and the widowed during all the other hours Sunday afternoon through Saturday night, God’s not impressed. One of my most favorite musician groups is Shane and Shane. The song titled, Turn Down the Music, is right on the money with this idea of empty alleluia’s.

There are many things to seek after in this lifetime such as relationships, family, money, career advancement, fame, etc. Yet Jesus says before all things in life, seek first the Kingdom of God.

Easier said than done right?

The road to seeking justice is not always smooth and evenly paved. Frankly, it’s dirty and often times messy. It’s emotional, tiring and incredibly draining.

And it’s worship.

Isaiah 58:6 tells us exactly the type of fasting God wants from us. Fasting is worship that was originally presented to the Israelites when God was establishing his law in Leviticus 16: 29-33. 

This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work —whether native-born or a foreigner residing among you— because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins.  It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.  The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the tent of meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the members of the community.

Simply put, to fast is to deny yourself. It is only when we deny ourselves that God can cleanse us and atonement can be made on our behalf. And through atonement and only through atonement, can we be in personal relationship with God.

Jesus will bring forth justice to all nations. –Isaiah 42:1-4.

What does that mean for us? When you read Seek Justice, what comes to mind? How and where do you seek justice in your life? 

»  Become a Fan or Friend of this Blogger
I drink coffee, read books, and travel. I’ve been able to drink coffee and discuss books with friends all over the world, simply because someone built a bridge and I made it east of the Mississippi and beyond. For this reason, I love bridges.