I’ve wondered how best to teach my children to love justice and live it out. Perhaps it helps to look to the Hebrew prophets, who had a lot to say about justice. One of my seminary professors called the care for the widow, the orphan, and the stranger the “drumbeat of the Old Testament” – something as regular as a beating heart. Micah 6:8 says that God requires us to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God. This looks nice on a bumper sticker, but it takes work to live it out.
Sometimes we mix up charity and justice. Charitable works are short-term acts of caring to meet urgent needs, like donating to the food pantry or to a fund for emergency rent assistance. Justice seeks to uncover and transform the systemic, root causes of problems. The U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops calls justice and charity “the two feet of love in action.” We need both feet to walk well.
This message is excerpted from “Let’s put love, justice on the map” by Lisa A. Smith in the June 2021 Gather magazine.
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