Let Justice Roll
This past Saturday I attended the first ever Let JusticeRoll Conference at Park Community Church inChicago. The title of the conference is rooted in Amos 5:24, which reads: “Butlet justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowingstream.” In the book of Amos God chastised Israel for the injustice in theland, especially in regards to the oppression of the poor and needy (cf. 2:6-7;4:1; 5:11-12; 8:4). God detested all their religious feasts while such thingsoccurred (5:21-23). He instead wanted them to establish justice in the land byministering to the needy (5:15, 24; 6:12). The Let Justice RollConference was aiming to motivateChristians to establish justice in the poor neighborhoods and communities ofinner city Chicago.
While the conference was not particularly geared toward abortion, the whole issue of God’s justness and his call for his people to establish justice applies very much to theabortion debate. One of the speakers gave what I thought was an excellentdefinition of justice. To start, injustice is simply the abuse of power. Whenthose with more power use it to oppress, take advantage of, discard, and/orpush away those with less power, especially by depriving them of life’snecessary resources (food, clothing, friendship, etc.), they are actingunjustly. This can be seen is something as horrendous as sex trafficking tosomething as common as a bully picking on someone in school. Any time power isused to oppress, there is “injustice.” On the contrary then, justice is theresponsible use of power. Jesus ultimately taught us that the “just” way to usepower is actually to give it up (as Phil 2:1-11 explains) in order to serve andlove others. When we use our power and resources to help those with less powerand resources, we are acting justly.
In the Bible justice is a huge concept. God himself is a Godof justice (Ps 111:7; Isa 30:18; 40:14), he loves and delights in justice(Psalm 33:5; Jer 9:24), he delights in hearts of justice more than religious rituals(Micah 6:7-8), he is displeased by injustice (Isa 59:14-15), he executesjustice for those who cannot stand up for themselves (Deut 10:17-19),especially the weak, the poor, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow(Deut 27:19; Ps 82:1-4). It should be difficult to miss the emphasis on God’sheart for justice in the Bible. When we look at the Biblical concept ofjustice, it emphasizes the importance of caring for those who are needy. Thatis, we have more than just a responsibility to care for souls, we also have theresponsibility to care for human needs here and now. When we do this, Goddelights.
I believe that the concept of justice needs to come into theabortion discussion. To me, there is no clearer example of the powerfuloppressing and discarding the weak than abortion. If we are going to actjustly, then we ought to, on the one hand, name and shame abortion for theinjustice that it is, and, on the other hand, we ought to do whatever we can tohelp mothers and abortion-vulnerable children wherever we find them. I believethat churches, ministries, and individuals who do so are truly establishingGod’s justice on earth.