What comes to mind when you hear this?
For some, this term evokes a knee-jerk reaction. It is a divisive term, especially among Christian circles.
But what does it actually mean?
Google defines social justice as "justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society."
Often times, I think many get hung up on the definition and ignore how this actually plays out in our daily lives.
Additionally, I think many people are shocked by the world's current problems and rightly so. Yet, the reality of the issues we are facing right now are nothing new. They are a result of sin.
Sin is "a wrong or wrongdoing, an act of evil, transgression, or offense."
Humans are inherently sinful, and the only thing that can rectify this is the work of the cross.
With all this in mind, I think we have to be careful not to worship the idea of social justice. However, completely dismissing social justice is not the answer either.
Social justice isn't a replacement or supplement to the Gospel. It is an idea woven into Scripture and exemplified by Jesus's life.
There are countless stories in the Bible that illustrate Jesus going out of His way to serve and care for those hurt, broken, and outcast by society.
Matthew 25 highlights Jesus's thoughts and teachings on "loving the least of these."
Advocating for our neighbor is a form of love. When we ignore other people's hurt, we are not loving in the way Jesus has called us to.
A dear friend of mine recently stated, "You can obey Christ and love people well without forgetting where your salvation and hope is found. In fact, you should obey Christ and love people well because you remember where your salvation and hope is found."
In addition to these things, she described social justice as "a pursuit of redemption in every relationship."
So, I do not believe you have to choose between social justice and the Gospel. It is not necessarily of a question of either/or, but rather a statement of both/and.
The Gospel is of foremost importance, and when it is lived out, justice accompanies it.