Cry for Justice
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
—Luke 18:1-8 (Read Luke 18)
This passage speaks to me twofold. First, it makes me question that if even humans with hard hearts will give in to persistent cries for justice, how much more willing must God be to listen to our calls for said justice? Second, it reminds me that we must continue to pressure the people in power to bring about justice in our country. Even those with the hardest hearts will let justice prevail when they are pressured enough.
This summer, the events following George Floyd’s death reminded me that the world is still very broken and unjust. I had come to believe the narrative that the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s marked the end of systemic racism in this country, but that narrative is false.
God opened my eyes to the grave disservice that has continued to be done to people of color and other marginalized groups in this country.
Often throughout history, the church has been on the wrong side of that oppression, too. The Forgive Us book study over the summer made it clear to me where the church has wound up on the wrong side of justice in the past and where it continues to do so, even today. Early American Christians misused their roles and did things against their core beliefs to maintain power. Many stories have been lost through the years and continue to be lost through the silence of white Christians, but that narrative does not have to continue.
There is still much work to be done to achieve justice in this world, both in general society and in the church. Our current culture is saturated with this message, but that does not make it any less potent. We, as Christians, cannot stand back and wait for others to enact justice around us.
We must call to God and to our world leaders for liberty and justice for all; and even when our world leaders fail, our call for justice will set an example. “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
We must be careful to approach justice with the right mindset, however. Much as this judge enacted justice despite neither fearing God nor respecting man, God is capable of enacting justice through us when we do not have the right mindset. Justice is still right no matter how it happens, but if we seek justice because it’s the cool thing to do or because it makes us look and feel “woke,” we have done ourselves a disservice.
God calls us to enact justice, and we should do just that out of love and reverence for God and His creation.
Lord God, please forgive the church for the wrongs it has done against underrepresented communities in the past. Take the community that has taken part in oppression, and transform it into one that seeks justice, loves mercy, and walks humbly with you, God. Work in our hearts that we may call for justice out of love for You and for Your Kingdom. Bless those who have been persecuted, and bring justice to them on this earth. Amen.
--Josh Young serves as a member of Cornerstone’s Worship Team.