President Barak Obama just announced to the world that the United States military has successfully killed Osama bin Laden, leader of al Qaeda, and the man responsible for thousands of lives, including the ones lost on September 11, 2001. Upon hearing this news, millions of people have Googled, tweeted and commented about it on Facebook. As I watched the live footage of the hundreds of people gathered in New York and Washington DC to celebrate it, I found myself being conflicted emotionally. It brings great joy to see justice served, yet it brings such sadness thinking about why our nation has to fight for it, and at what cost.
I wonder what our world would look like today if we never stood up for injustice? Would we still be called the United States, land of the free and home of the brave? If Abraham Lincoln did not fight to abolish slavery, would we still be dealing with that ugly, despicable part of our history? Would the Jewish race still exist if armies had not rallied together, to put an end to the Holocaust? If our leaders and founding fathers never stood up for what was right, we certainly would not have the African-American President who just gave the orders to execute the person responsible for the lives of thousands of Americans.
There are hundreds of verses in the Bible that deal with injustice, and it’s full of kings and leaders who were ordered of the Lord to fight against it. In fact, I think the Bible is one of the bloodiest books ever written. King David was one of those godly leaders who was at war most of his life. David was only a boy when he was empowered by God to stand up against Goliath, the Philistine giant who was oppressing the Hebrews. David continued to be used by God to fight against other nations, and to ultimately preserve the lineage of Christ. Many people are confused about who God is and what He stands for. If you read through the Bible, you will find a loving God who has made a way for everyone to have a relationship with Him, and on the flip side you will see a God who hates injustice and has given authority for people to stand up for it.
Many people, even Christians might disagree with this viewpoint and in their argument mention Romans 12:19 where Paul says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” If you were to understand the context of this scripture you would know that Paul was speaking to a group of Christians about getting even with another person who has done you wrong. He was telling the Christians to be an example of Christ by loving people, even when they hurt you. I would encourage you to read what Paul continues to say in the next chapter of this same letter. In Romans 13:1-5 he says that everyone should submit to the governing authorities, because they have been given their authority by God. That we should fear our rulers because they are God’s servants, or agents of wrath, placed there to carry out terror on those who do wrong.
Social injustice is such a sensitive issue. Our emotions become so conflicted when we face things like terrorism, war and injustice, and we easily become confused about how God feels about these very things. It’s hard to see families lose loved ones while serving our country, but when we allow our deep emotions to cloud the truth, we miss what this fight is about. We are fighting against evil! I love what Martin Luther King Jr. said in his letter from Birmingham Jail;
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and
actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
This is a strong statement! I never want to be one of those people who have to repent because I was silent and did not stand up for injustice, and I have the same hope for our nation. We live in the most powerful nation in the world. We’ve been given great power because of who we serve and what we stand for. May we never lose sight of the responsibility that is upon us. Injustice comes in so many forms; communism, child trafficking, slave trade, bullying that is so rampant among our school children, etc… We aren’t just fighting against terrorism, we are fighting against the very evil that wants to destroy God’s creation.
I would like to conclude with an excerpt from Richard Stearns book, Hole in Our Gospel;
“One of the disturbing things about Church history is the Church’s appalling track record of being on the wrong side of the great social issues of the day. If the Church is indeed a revolutionary kind of institution, called to foment a social revolution by promoting justice, lifting up the sanctity of human life, fighting for the underdog, and challenging the prevailing value systems in our world, then it seems we should be out in front on social justice issues rather than bringing up the rear. But what we see when we look at the Church is a kind of “culture blindness,” an inability to see the dominant culture through God’s eyes.”
Let’s take some time to think about our responsibility not only as citizens of the United States of America, but as Christians called of God to stand up for injustice. I am so grateful to live in a country that has brave men and women who faithfully serve our country by standing up for injustice.