We often talk about ‘living social justice,’ but what exactly does that mean for our daily lives? Today, we unpack what it means to have a lifestyle of social justice.
Jesus said: ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ (John 10:10).
Unfortunately, as a result of human acts and omissions, many people in Cape Town experience life as anything but ‘full’. As Christ followers, we seek to LIVE SOCIAL JUSTICE by noticing, being moved and making daily choices that address injustices in our city.
God intends that every person should have the protection and provision they need to live productive and purpose-filled lives. In the Bible, God is called ‘a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows’ (Psalm 68:4-5) – always seeking to protect and provide for those who are vulnerable to exploitation. He shows himself as a God who cares for the vulnerable, marginalised people in the world, and he frequently calls his people to be his agents in this care. ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: Administer justice, show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the immigrant or the poor.’ (Zechariah 7:10- 11).
When we seek to LIVE SOCIAL JUSTICE we recognize the purpose, worth and dignity of every human being as an image bearer of God. So often, this image is damaged through violence, abuse and exploitation and through unequal access to resources. We need to ask God to show us his vision for the people of Cape Town – for a city where people are able to work, children grow up in loving homes and receive quality education, there is adequate food and nutrition, shelter, protection and medical care. A place where all have their basic needs met and where people come to know God as their loving father, their protector and provider. A city where all have the possibility to live ‘life to the full’.
When we seek to LIVE SOCIAL JUSTICE we acknowledge that we are stewards – not owners – of our time, skills and resources and we make them available to God for his purposes. We strive to not be like the people of Sodom of whom it was said: ‘She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy’ (Ezekiel 16:49-50).
When we seek to LIVE SOCIAL JUSTICE we commit ourselves to a daily, moment-by-moment awareness of injustice, and an openness and sensitivity to God’s Spirit guiding our choices and actions in support of those without provision and protection.
In the words of Micah: ‘He has shown all you people what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’ Micah 6:8.
What are some ways that you live social justice? We’d love to hear!
If you would like a gain a deeper understanding of what it means to live social justice, click here for a more in-depth look at the Biblical mandate. Also, we’d recommend you read ‘Generous Justice’ by Timothy Keller for more insight.