You're probably ready to stone me for proposing that question in my blog title. But you have to know my history. I've spent the better part of a decade sharing the gospel in practical ways. Starting injustice awareness movements. Partnering with friends and technologies for clean water and sustainable food. Bringing people around the world documenting injustice and building homes for homeless. But a friend proposed a couple of questions to me a few months ago that made me think deeper as to what my "mission" should in fact entail.
Seeing how we are celebrating a season in which Jesus died for his message it's an opportune time to give Jesus' life mission some thought.
Len: "When you stand before Jesus at the end of your life, what will you ask for? Justice? Or Mercy?
Me: "Huh. Mercy."
Me: "Yes Len"
Len: "What was the biggest social injustice issue of the day during the life of Jesus."
Len: "Yea, and when did Jesus talk about the fight for justice for slaves?"
It was a short and brief conversation that left me stirred.
Just for the record, I'm not at all implying that doing justice is not needed. Yes, when the face of an unjust situation stares you down, like Jesus and the women caught in adultery, step up and do justice.
But what was more in line with the mission of Jesus? Was he as concerned with justice alone, or mercy for all. Not just for the oppressed, but also for the oppressor equally. I've heard it said, Orthodoxy is Paradoxy. And to think that Jesus died for the suffering and oppressed around the world makes total sense. When Jesus' message gets harder to swallow, is when we realize Jesus' sacrifice was made for the oppressor as well.
The trafficked and trafficker.
The slave and tyrant.
The oppressed and dictator.
Please hear me. I do believe that it's unjust that millions of humans are being trafficked every day globally. But is it not equally unjust that billions of Christians every day have a message of hope and restoration for this age and the age to come, yet never say anything about it? What was a greater injustice to Jesus? That slaves were treated harshly, or that every heart, mind and soul on planet earth was separated from God because of sin in the heart.
Quite possibly, doing justice is the easy part. But loving mercy for all? That might just be the thing that makes Christianity quite different from the world. What if 1 billion Christians woke up tomorrow and decided to live out loving mercy towards everyone? We might change the world.
Loving mercy for our enemies.
Loving mercy for the terrorist.
Loving mercy for the rapist.
Loving mercy for the pedofile (I know, that's hard to swallow isn't it).
Maybe we should start here, because loving the unloving is probably the simplest yet most difficult aspect of the Gospel to grasp. After all, Jesus, the ONLY innocent man in the history of the world, died on the cross for the guilty. How is that just?
Back to my question. Is the social justice movement a distraction? I don't know, is it?