Micah 6:8 is one of my favorite verses: “He has shown you, oh mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Acting justly sounds so appealing. Acting justly means acting in an honorable, fair, and right way towards others. Who doesn’t want to act justly?
I love how The Message puts ‘acting justly’ in it’s rendition of this verse: “Do what is fair and just to your neighbor“. Again, this sounds so good, but if we start thinking about it, we start asking, well… who is my neighbor? Where does this start and where does this end? Our everyday choices affect our neighbors locally and globally. What kind of justice are we talking about? How does acting justly fit in my budget? How does acting justly fit in my busy life? What did Jesus really mean?
We aren’t the first to ask this question as we are figuring out just how big Jesus’ call is for us to join Him in His work of redemption and restoration in the world. One of the smarty pants theologians in Jesus’ day was trying to figure this out too, and in response to Jesus’ teaching about loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves, he asked, “who is my neighbor (Luke 10)?”
And Jesus’ response? The parable of the good Samaritan. Who is our neighbor? More like, who isn’t our neighbor? Our neighbor could be the person who lives next to us or works in the cubicle next to us, our neighbor could be homeless and walking our streets, our neighbor could be a family living in a different part of town than we do, our neighbor could live in Africa or India or Pakistan or in the country or the suburbs or the inner city. We have neighbors throughout the world.
Our neighbors are in need of being treated justly, but this is a huge task. I haven’t met many Christians who were disinterested in justice, but I have met many Christians who were overwhelmed with how to live justly. Should we focus on modern day slavery, taking care of the earth, racial injustice, economic disparity, literacy, empowerment of women, equal opportunity…? Should we focus on one street or one city or one country? Should we picket or lobby or move or blog or give something up or plant community gardens?
There is so much injustice in the world, that it’s hard to know where to start.
I have friends that haven’t know where to start, and so they didn’t start at all.
Don’t do that, for our neighbors sake, please find a place to start. Recently, my friend recommended this book, and I picked it up and loved it, so I thought I would tell you about it.
It’s called Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of our Daily Choices. The author, Julie Clawson wrote the book to talk about how our Christian faith should inform our response to issues, and to discuss practical ways we can start working for justice in our day to day lives. I love this book because it spoke my languages: rationale and practical.
She opens right out of the gate with some tough challenges:
“Our local everyday choices reverberate around the world and at the center, pushing and informing all of these choices is our faith… acting justly everyday means developing awareness around the problems in the world; it means changing how we shop, how we dress, and how we drive; it means starting to see our each and every action as an ethical choice.”
The author brings awareness to fair trade, modern day slavery, oil consumption, ethical choices, social injustice, environmental impact, the price of convenience, and debt of nations through talking about our everyday consumption of coffee, chocolate, gas, food, clothes, waste, and debt. She brings some glaring issues of injustice into light.
The book is challenging, eye-opening, and incredibly practical. Tomorrow, I’m going to talk about how I’m implementing some everyday justice into my choices because of this book. I encourage you, if you want to do something good for your neighbors, and don’t know where to start, pick up this book from the local library or bookstore and dive in. And then let me know how you’re doing everyday justice.
“Choosing to follow Jesus is more than just adhering to a set of beliefs; it is an invitation to an entirely new way of living in the world” – Julie Clawson