Archive for the tag “Multiply Justice”

Idealism can betray the Mission

end it movementBy Mark Kelly

I’ve always been an idealist. As a young believer, one of the first passages to capture my imagination was Luke 4:13-23, Jesus declaring his mission “to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors.” (NLT) One of my favorite T-shirts has a slogan boldly emblazoned on the front: “We can stop injustice now.” My heart thrills to see so many people take up the vision of a campaign to end slavery all over the world — especially 60,000 enthusiastic young believers at the Passion 2013 conference held here in Atlanta this past weekend.

I love the idealistic vision: We can stop injustice now! We can eliminate poverty! We can end slavery! Eradicate malaria! Clean water for everyone!

If only reality cooperated.

Slaves are set free when one brick factory closes, and two more open up in the neighboring district. A widow is given a cow to help support her family, and a neighbor steals the cow. A well is drilled so Dalits don’t have to draw water from a polluted river, and a wealthy upper-caste man padlocks the well. A girl is rescued from sex trafficking in Atlanta, and two more disappear from the streets — then the rescued girl calls her pimp to come get her.

Do we quit throwing starfish back in the ocean just because the waves are washing up a dozen more down the beach? No way! Each hurting soul matters to Jesus. Do we allow ourselves to get discouraged? Absolutely not! The Enemy’s advances only strengthen our determination to fight. We know the battle already has been won. It’s only a matter of time before Jesus returns and justice truly rolls down like a flood.

Remember that — and think about it often — it is a matter of time. We can’t actually stop injustice now, but Jesus will, once and for all.

While you are at it, ponder this truth as well: Our idealism can betray the Mission.

“We can stop injustice now” is wonderfully idealistic, but it’s not the biblical reality. We can stop injustices, this one or that one — and we should give ourselves wholeheartedly to the battle — but we cannot stop global injustice, not now, not tomorrow, not ourselves. That honor belongs to Jesus, the only one worthy.

Thinking we can stop injustice now ourselves is arrogance, and setting our sights on such a goal is betrayal.

Consider:

— Our idealism betrays the Mission when over-promising sets up our idealistic young friends for failure and discouragement. Young people respond to great vision, but we fail them if we don’t make sure they understand the sad state of people enslaved by sin. People are broken. No matter how passionately we appeal to them, some will refuse to choose wholeness. No matter how many evil people are put in jail, others will continue to oppress the weak. We must salt the vision with reality so our young compatriots don’t become as disillusioned as their parents.

— Our idealism betrays the Mission when it creates an opening for opportunists. Humanitarians are broken people too. Sometimes humanitarians take advantage of idealism to raise money that benefits them much more than it does the sad children in their promotional materials. Some enormously successful humanitarian efforts make little difference for the people in need or actually make things worse. (Have you still not read this book?) I would have been worried at the sight of so many young people lined up to swipe their credit cards at Passion 2013, if I didn’t have complete confidence in the integrity of Louie Giglio and his team.

— Idealism betrays the Mission when it doesn’t get a believer personally involved with someone in need. We are not called to end injustice, but to make a difference for suffering souls. Jesus didn’t eradicate disease, he healed a sick soul; he didn’t end hunger, he fed a hungry crowd; he didn’t rid the world of demons, he set free a demon-possessed man. Our idealism must pull the one lever that makes a real difference: Getting people personally involved hands-on in helping someone else.

The Mission is about all God’s lost and suffering children and his call for his people to create redeeming, healing relationships with those lost children. The vision we should be casting is not to give money and buy products to “end injustice,” but to follow Jesus’ example and get dirty helping others. God didn’t fight injustice from heaven. He became flesh and walked among the people he intended to set free and restore.

Idealistic visions motivate, but personal relationships transform — one person at a time.

Even better, relationships multiply.

You don’t have to give up exciting, world-transforming vision when you engage people in one-on-one ministry relationships. The geometric progression of multiplying personal relationships is something amazing we really can do ourselves — now.

We will not completely eradicate the global scourges in our time, but we can — and will — make a massive difference before Jesus himself brings justice rolling down like a flood. We can’t change the whole world now, but you can make a world of difference for someone in desperate need:

— You can give. Yes, giving matters. Not everyone can go rescue girls from sex slavery in Asia.

— You can pray. The power of the Spirit in prayer can transport you anywhere and release God’s power in faraway places.

— You can get personally involved. You can make a difference, right where you are, for a specific person. This is the heart of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and to obey his command to make disciples.

Innocent as doves; shrewd as serpents.

How to multiply justice
Here’s how to make it happen

It’s time to multiply justice!

We are so grateful for the enthusiastic support our friends have shown since Multiply Justice launched back in March.

During the past six months, we’ve been building out the site and getting a feel for how this new network should function. Now we feel the Lord is saying it’s time to take the next step.

We’re looking for a handful of people who have a heart for the poor and oppressed and want to see God’s justice multiplied in the world.

There are several ways you can help, starting with something very simple that will only take a few seconds of your time.

If you’re ready to see justice multiply, please e-mail mj@multiplyjustice.net. We’ve got a strategy in mind, and we’re eager to see what the Lord has in store for us!

Ambassadors of ‘new things’

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation …. We are ambassadors for Christ. (2 Corinthians 5: 17-18, 20a NAS)

By Mark Kelly

The radical change Jesus brings to our lives transforms more than our relationship with God. Jesus invites us into God’s everything-is-new kingdom, where nothing is as it was before — especially our relationships and responsibilities.

We were God’s enemies, but his overwhelming love for us allowed his sinless only Son to die in our place so we could be adopted into God’s family. (Romans 5:8-10) When we allow Christ to make new creatures of us, all the “old things” disappear and “new things” take their place. The most fundamental change is our mission in life. Instead of being in it for ourselves, looking out for No. 1, we become ambassadors for a kingdom of justice, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

Now justice, peace, and joy are not merely the benefits we individually enjoy for entering the Kingdom; they also describe the newly created relationships between citizens of the Kingdom. They describe the vision of new life we offer lost, broken souls enslaved by the powers of this present darkness.

How radically different is a world in which we are told to love our enemies? How different is a world in which we are told to love our neighbor — and as an example we are told a story about ethnic groups who despise each other? How radically different from our churches today would a community be, in which there was no poverty because members sold their property to help other members in need?

In this radically different “new things” world, we also have “new things” responsibilities.

God set a radical example of loving our enemies by allowing his sinless only Son to die in our place. As ambassadors of God’s kingdom, don’t we have a responsibility to represent our Lord to even the worst of his enemies, including sex traffickers, child molesters, and slave owners? How much greater is our responsibility before God to reach out to their victims and help them find a path into the Kingdom of Justice, Peace, and Joy?

Declaring that old things have passed away means much more than turning away from our old sinful indulgences. It also requires us to turn away from our old (and sinful) apathy about oppression and injustice.

Our old complacency and self-interest allowed injustice to multiply without restraint. Our mission as ambassadors of reconciliation is to multiply God’s justice.


Mark Kelly is editor of Multiply Justice. Copyright © 2012 Kainos Press

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