Social Justice vs. Biblical Justice: Know the Difference – YWAM Asheville

Social Justice vs. Biblical Justice: Know the Difference 

Introduction:

According to the dictionary, justice is, “behaving according to what is morally right and fair” or “just behaviour or treatment.” Justice is inseparable from morality. As a Jesus follower, I base my decisions that are moral on what I see in the scriptures. I look for how justice and morality are displayed by Jesus. I’ve chosen to view God as the ultimate moral creator and giver. Who else should we look to for guidance in this area? When I allow the gospel to determine my understanding of justice, my definition of it changes. 

 

What is social justice?

The United Nations defines social justice as “the fair and compassionate distribution of the fruits of economic growth.” The National Association of Social Workers states that “social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. Social workers aim to open the doors of access and opportunity for everyone, particularly those in greatest need.”  

Culturally and generationally, we correlate the term social justice with economic opportunity, access to resources, and equity in treatment. These are not “bad” things whatsoever. In fact they can reflect very Biblical values. 

But Christians cannot allow their understanding of justice to be rooted in society’s definitions. Our foundation and compass when approaching the topic of justice must begin with the heart and Word of God. 

We live in a society where everyone makes their own decisions on what justice is and all that it entails. Hot topics and controversy tend to lead these conversations, and we have a tendency to let “justice” become an excuse to point fingers at each other. Each culture and generation define social justice in their own way, forever adjusting implications and expectations. Social justice, especially in the age of social media, can elevate someone who has experienced an injustice to a hero status, glorifying victim identity. Do victims deserve recognition, healing, space, and platform? Absolutely. We must listen to those who have been wronged in order to make changes. However, there is a pattern of idolizing victims, which enables a cycle of pointing out injustices without providing solutions to root causes. This is exacerbated by the speed of every news cycle, and noise made on social media…Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok are platforms that offer very limited understanding of the extensive context of each issue. Context that is desperately needed to accomplish sustainable change.

God recognizes that each individual requires different amounts and types of resources, assistance, and tools. His mercy and goodness to us are as unique as we are. Today’s version of social justice tends to make blanket statements and sweeping judgements. One size does not fit all when it comes to true justice. Biblical justice holds space for every circumstance to be unique and complex.

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“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

Isaiah 1:17

What is Biblical justice?

I would like to come at this from an angle like someone who is in full-time Christian ministry at YWAM Asheville, fighting human trafficking on a global scale. It can be very easy to be pulled into the emotions of things that I see in moments of cruelty, trauma, and even restoration. A sense of anger can arise when I hear first-hand accounts of neglect and severe abuse.

In these moments, I am given the opportunity to let Jesus expand my understanding of what justice is. He invites me to move forward with the intentional response, rather than the compulsive reaction. 

Fighting injustice with intentional response might look like this: 

-compassion 

-listening 

-generosity and care 

-walking committedly alongside the individual 

-and together pursuing a place of wholeness and wellness. 

It can also mean making sure that perpetrators, if possible, are held accountable for their actions. Biblical justice does include standing against evil in all forms. But it doesn’t stop there. 

Often we feel that justice has been served in completion when the perpetrator is in jail…or a sum of money has been paid, or something stolen has been restored. Rather than letting it end there, we should look to follow through in every situation with grace. Grace is not at odds with biblical justice. It is a paradox, but one we must embody as Christians. 

The Difference between Social and Biblical Justice

Biblical justice goes the extra mile, and then some. True justice walks in forgiveness towards the perpetrator, tries to break the mold of generational abuse, and brings reconciliation. Social justice often falls short by treating a symptom, whereas Biblical justice seeks to treat the root cause; the heart. 

Many perpetrators of injustice behave as they do because they are themselves victims of injustice. Yet society expects them to be an upstanding citizen with morals and use common sense. This is a vicious cycle that won’t be stopped by simply having someone declared as “guilty” by a judge and serving their sentence. There is a deeper, heart-level cause that needs to be addressed for Biblical justice to prevail. 

Final Takeaway 

As a teenager, my family experienced devastating trauma and injustice. It wasn’t until many years later that I truly chose to walk in forgiveness, which allowed my heart to move forward in freedom in an indescribable way. The people who created the pain will likely never know that I have forgiven them…but if there were ever a time that I was to be face to face with them, I know how I plan to respond. It’s shown me that healing can be possible at every level, and God has used this event to carve love and compassion for offenders in my heart. 

Are you quick to write off those who have inflicted pain? Or would you be willing to spend your time with the “sinners” of society, those who cause pain? When Jesus came, he came for the lost, the brokenhearted, the perpetrator. 

I pray that believers living in 2021 learn to focus on grace going hand in hand with justice. Our society has often decided that they don’t belong together. But that is who Jesus is. Mercy and truth. Grace and justice. Lion and lamb. 

YWAM values training every student who comes to a Discipleship Training School about the true meaning of justice. Everyone who does a DTS at YWAM Asheville will receive teaching on justice, forgiveness, mercy, and compassion…and have the chance to demonstrate the beauty of Biblical Justice to the world around them. If you’re ready to take your understanding of justice to the next level, join us for the next DTS! Apply in just minutes for free.

 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” 

Micah 6:8

A God Who Embraces The Brokenhearted

brokenhearted

A God Who Embraces The Brokenhearted

Brokenhearted. A place we will all be at some point. Perhaps many times. The causes of our pain are endless. The list is ever-growing. There are always more reasons to be downcast.

But God calls us to abide. To live according to His perspective. He invites us into a relationship that is nuanced with personal, firsthand experience. Scripture calls us to worship a God whose very nature is one of joy, pleasure, and comfort. 

“Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
brokenhearted

Amid heart ache, God’s goodness can seem unfathomable. Being told to consider God’s goodness while brokenhearted can be offensive, even. 

Enter the humanity of Christ.

The prophet Isaiah spoke of the coming Messiah with words that bring deep comfort. “He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” (Isa 53:3) 

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted because He knows the pain of a broken heart…of “deepest grief”. 

brokenhearted

Not only does He know pain, He sees ours. He hears our cry. Psalm 34:17-19 says, “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” 

We can see throughout scripture that God feels deeply. That He mourns. Being brokenhearted is no mystery to God. We see that He is attentive to the needs of His people. That He comes to the aid of His beloved.

That being said, we also see in scripture is that God tends to work with His people through processes. Sure, there are moments of the instant, the shocking, and the miraculous. But when we step back and look at the entirety of the Bible, we see repeatedly that God’s go-to method involves process. Patience, forbearance, long-suffering are some of His favorite tools. He is a long-haul God. Easy fixes and patch jobs are beneath Him. He wants His children to heal thoroughly and completely. This requires process.

brokenhearted

This process looks different for each person, for each heart break. When we entrust the Lord with our broken hearts, He doesn’t promise that the feeling of grief or mourning will go away. But He does promise peace, deliverance, and refuge. God sees the unseen and acknowledges the unspoken. When we are fully known and fully loved amid our anguish, there is comfort in the simplicity of not being alone.

In my experience, God heals a broken heart over time. He touches the hurt, and makes it hurt just a little less. And then He does it again. He speaks softly just what you need to hear. He brings peace to confusion. And eventually, you can look at your broken heart through His eyes. His perspective.

There is no healing formula. No bypass.

But there is a God who embraces the brokenhearted.

 

How DTS Changed My Life

How DTS Changed My Life

how dts changed my life

A black hole is what I saw in my future. As a 21 year old young man, it’s absolutely depressing to not know what your future holds. It was even more shattering to see a black hole, a future without any light.

I desperately needed someone to interrupt my journey into this black hole. I needed help! Out of nowhere I kept hearing about an organization I had never heard about, YWAM. I took a leap of faith and signed up to do a DTS to see if somehow I could reconcile the predicament I was in.

These are the top 3 ways DTS changed my life, forever.

I MET THE “I AM”

In the six months of my DTS I saw God in a new paradigm, saw Him up close. It was a moment of enlightenment of who He was and how He sees me. I saw Him as a father. I saw Him as a shepherd. I saw Him as a friend with whom I could communicate my heart with, who is willing to listen and talk to me.

 

I MET MYSELF

 

I found myself for the very first time. I always lived according to other’s expectations, and let situations and my past define me and where I was headed in life. I began seeing a version of me that I never saw before. I saw the original design that God had in mind when he created me. I was set free! I saw the world in a new light, saw opportunities to make a difference, to live, not just to exist.

I MET FRIENDS FOR LIFE

All of this happened in the context of a community. I had people who did not see me for who I was in the moment but rather who I could be. They knew my story and believed in me, which helped propel me towards what God had for me. It was no longer me fighting alone, I had an army behind me.

I didn’t know what my future was holding, but I knew Who was holding my future. I saw Jesus in my future. That is all I needed.

Psalms 119: 105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” 

In the time that the psalms were written, the lamps only had enough light for one step at a time.

That’s all they could see. The next step.

All I need to know is the next step, and to be faithful to obey Him in that next step.

What’s your next step?

Join us for a Discipleship Training School and let God transform you as you learn to follow Him.

3 Signs You Should Do A DTS

3 Signs You Should Do a dts

3 Signs You Should Do A DTS

1. Are you thirsty?

“He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” John 7:37b-28 (The Message)

Jesus has revealed to His Creation that He alone truly satisfies, and He alone will serve us never ending cups of cool living water. The DTS is for the thirsty, those who have begun to realize that the world around us can not quench the ever present yearning for purity, for rest, and for truth.

2. Are you burning?

“But if I say, “I will not remember Him

           Or speak anymore in His name,”

           Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire

           Shut up in my bones;

           And I am weary of holding it in,

           And I cannot endure it.” Jeremiah 20:9 (NAS)

 

The truth of the gospel is a flame within us. It is meant to be a light by which we lead others to the cross of Christ. But if we keep our mouths shut, if we remain motionless in our comfort and refuse to speak out in faith, we will burn from the inside out. The DTS is for those who ache to share truth, for those who long to be trained on how to release this light into the world, and for those who can keep silent no longer.

3. Are you willing?

“Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” Isaiah 6:8 (NLT)

We live in a world that is obsessed with comfort and personal rights. We’ve been told our whole lives to prioritize our own personal welfare above all else. But what if this is a false safety? What if true comfort lies not in an unending bank account, a relationship, a status? What if true comfort lies, instead, in the hands of a sacrificial Savior? The DTS is for anyone who realizes that life is too short to take another step without the leadership of Jesus, for those who have a voice crying out in their heart, “Here I am, Jesus, send me!”, and for those who desire to lay aside their personal agenda in order to follow in His footsteps, no matter the cost.

The Discipleship Training School offers a place and space to explore, to wrestle, to seek, to find, to ask, to dream, to ponder, and to chase.

The DTS is for anyone with a thirst for the extraordinary, a hunger for the eternal, an aching to see oneself and one’s generation transformed for the glory of God’s love, and a willingness that says, “take me anywhere, Lord, I’ll do anything”.

God’s Goodness in Grief.

God’s Goodness in Grief.

God’s Goodness in Grief

“Brittany, you must remember,” my grandma said through tears and a mourning heart, “God is still good.”

She spoke these words to me right after the death of her husband of 60 years. My grandaddy, whom I adored, had fallen ill and went to be with Jesus pretty quickly. He and my grandma were the perfect picture of marriage to me growing up. I watched them as the years went by and contemplated in my heart that this had to be what true love looks like. He and she caring for each other tenderly and still in love as if they were newlyweds.

To give you an idea of what it looked like, at some point in the latter years of my grandaddy’s life, he lost the sense of touch in his fingertips due to diabetes and other health issues. His biggest fear, as expressed to my grandma in anguish, was that when he would touch her face he would not be able to ever feel it again.

 

This man. He loved her well. She loved him well until the very end of his days. What it must feel like to lose someone that you have adored and cherished for 60 years is beyond me. I have only been living on this earth for half of that time. I was always worried about how my grandparents would handle losing the other into eternity. So when I saw that my​ grandma was in total peace​, I was in shock all the more.​

 

This realization led me to reflect on her words that she spoke, “God is still good.” I started thinking about what she meant ​in​  these words. This was coming from a woman who has lived on this earth for 80 years. A woman who I expected to fall apart over her loss. Instead, this woman turned out to be a lot stronger than I anticipated, and was walking in total peace because of the love of her Savior.

After all, God was her first love.

This kind of love only comes out of relationship. A sacred union between two individuals walking together day in and day out. Sharing everything together – secrets, fears, dreams, heartaches, and goals; expressing moments of vulnerability and pain, and working things out together when times get rough.

Rainbows come only after the rain. My grandma developed a permanent rainbow throughout her years on this earth because she realized that no matter what – God is still good.

Where are your thoughts today? Are they reflecting on a lifetime of provision from a merciful Shepherd? Or are they stuck on the negative, resisting the only hands that will ever truly feed you? I know where mine are.

I’m choosing to speak truth today. That no matter what has happened or what is to come, God is still good.