Monday, June 01, 2009

Justice: Obligation and Motivation within Appropriate Boundaries

by Laura Springer, M.Div., Th.M.

Why do we have an obligation to do justice? We have an obligation to do justice because God is just. As God's creation and as his people, we are obligated to do justice.

What are the boundaries of justice? As the people of God, there are limits to how we ought to do justice. We cannot choose to do justice however we please; rather, we are constrained by the bounds of loving God and others. For example, as we look out in our comm8unity of Torrance, there are justice organizations and institutions with which we might engage. The decision whether and how to involve ourselves is bounded by the limits of God's law of love. As a community of God's people we must sit together and work out and probably struggle through, what the boundaries are and what activities are outside those boundaries.

What is our motivation to do justice? The first motivation is heart. As followers of Jesus, as the people of God our hearts are to run headlong toward God and his desires. God is a God of justice. Evil will be punished; it will be removed. The subjugation of evil is a divine human task (Gen 1:26-28).

The second motivation is the fact that God has placed us here in Torrance. This place, where he has put us, must be our primary mission focus, for all other mission flows out of where we are.This does not mean we set aside foreign or short term mission. It does mean that if we are not subduing evil and proclaiming God where we are, then something is desperately wrong. If we are not fighting for people, speaking wisdom to them, caring for them where we are in Torrance then we have no business going elsewhere. The commitment to do justice and be missional ought to shape how our time and resources are invested. Here, in our ordinary day to day lives, as we live in our neighborhoods, shop at grocery stores, dine in restaurants, and go bowling, the justice of God must be done and the good news of Jesus must be proclaimed.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 esv

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1:8 esv