But let justice roll down like waters,

and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Amos 5: 24

 

God is speaking through the prophet Amos to His people, and the Lord is not pleased. In fact, He follows this thought with the foretelling of a period of captivity far away from their homelands. Yet, it does not seem that God is speaking to the people of Israel alone. His desire to see justice granted to all people is a part of the Lord’s nature of love and reconciliation, and His direction to His people to be committed to justice for all comes directly out of God’s character that He imparts into us through Christ. I believe that possessing a heart for justice is not natural to fallen humans, but it is something that grows and develops out of submission to Christ and is a reflection of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

 

With that in mind, it is not necessarily reasonable to expect that our governmental institutions will be focused on the concept of justice or on providing it in its truest forms. Although God ordains governments, they do not know Him. The people who govern can be followers of Christ, and as such should provide voices that speak out for the sakes of the oppressed, the marginalized, and the victimized people of our world. Also, people who know God need to speak out with clarity and with the stridency of the Lord for just treatment and for the provision of a place of welcome and sanctuary for those who the evil in our world has violated. Even when it seems that no one is listening or when we are fearful and reluctant to embrace people whose language, customs, and beliefs are quite foreign to us, God says that they are all our neighbors who are made in His image and that we are to love them.

 

This sort of fearless and committed love comes about as we surrender ourselves to Christ. He imparts it to us as His Spirit works within our hearts and minds. If it is not present, it is something to seek from the Lord, and as this love for others is on the heart, we can seek after God’s leading for living it out in terms of engagement and relationship with people whose greatest need is to know Christ. Justice that rolls down from the heavens like a mighty stream courses down a mountainside is more than the poetic language of the prophet, it is a possibility when people who know God follow him into loving and caring for those who are in greatest need. It comes about as we set aside comfort and self-defined security to follow Christ into touching lives that He cares about deeply.

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