I am not an activist.
I am not an abolitionist.
I am not a feminist.
I am not an environmentalist.
I am nothing, but a believer in Christ.
I am everything, because I believe in Christ.
I will fight for freedom because someone is being oppressed. Beaten, tortured, and made to feel anything but worthy. I will stand beside those labeled different, less, unwanted, because Christ stood for me. How can I do anything less?
We are called to be shepherds of what God has placed before us, not to use it and throw it away. We are to nurture and protect all within our world because we were tasked to do so. We are also tasked to protect the widow, the orphan, and the alien.
We as Christians seem to give odd connotations to certain words, as if we are afraid of them. Social Justice seems to make a lot of church members bristle and protest when the church should be the one to spearhead the movements.
The point of time that Rosa Parks refused to move fifty nine years ago and all the numerous people that built up to the moment that defined enough was enough, the Civil Rights movement officially started. It is just a few years shy of the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s assassination, and it is fifty one years since his march on Washington, DC.
And still we fight.
There is still the belief that a human being can be considered less than another. We still believe that whether our skin color is different, or we are born in a certain class, or a certain part of the world or with certain body parts, that we are better than another. If we have the ability to make someone unworthy, we use it.
We still fight for the right to be what God made us to be.
The annual Justice Conference was held last week in LA. On it’s docket was of course Social Justice.
Bernice King, the daughter of Dr. King, spoke about her father’s peaceful fight and the continual need to keep fighting for the rights of all humans. She reminded us that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As well and most importantly, “When we call God our Father, we cannot divorce the knowledge that the person next to us is either our brother or our sister.”
Other speakers talked about the ‘new’ slavery, the $40+ billion trade in Human Trafficking. While most focus is on the sex trade, as it is a horrific abuse of men, women, and children, we must not forget there are still millions of people being forced to literally work to death. Slavery is far from being dead. And we perpetrate the ability for these slavers to do their horrors by refusing to see what they are doing.
I believe that when we look away when we see someone hurting, we continue to allow injustice it’s power.
Injustice comes in many forms. As a Christian, God calls me to righteousness. He is a lover of justice and commands us to be the same. “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” Zechariah 7:9
This is why I say I am not an activist.
I refuse to label myself anything, but a lover of Christ. Because I wish to follow Jesus and his example, I must be a person who fights for the rights of others. I must speak up for women whose rights as human beings are being denied, I must fight for children who do not have access to fresh water and food, I must fight for men who are oppressed by those who have money. Because Jesus had no favorites, neither must I. I will not confine my fight for justice to just one label, because all of it is my fight.
People seem to get concerned when we speak of justice. As if it is to weighty and unattainable. Justice can be as easy and as hard as simply speaking up when someone is saying horrible things regarding someone else. Injustice comes in so many forms, but if you allow one thing to continue, eventually you will allow even greater injustices to happen. As Malcolm X once said, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”
We do not have to travel the world to bring justice, but we do need to make sure we are fighting for justice in our neighborhood. Don’t just talk about it, actually participate in it. Justin Dillon says, “Don’t be an activist. Be a solutionist.” Put feet to your words. It’s one of the reasons why Christians have a bad name in the world of social justice. We talk a lot, but rarely do we put sweat behind the words and help right the wrongs. We have our church ministries which are wonderful, but it is a select few in the church who are part of it. A small contingent who walk out among the homeless, who go to build water systems in Africa, who set up counseling for domestic abuse survivors.
So few when the church is so big. We have enough hands in the church to end injustice. Make a stand and lend that hand. Let’s be God’s feet and his hands on this world to break the chains of injustice.
“A private faith that does not act in the face of oppression is no faith at all.”- William Wilberforce