“A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.” (Martin Luther King, Letter from the Birmingham jail)
What is social justice? How does it differ from “Social Justice” (with capital letters), about which we hear so much today? Are they one and the same, or very different? Which most closely represents “Biblical Justice”? Does it really even matter?
“Ideas have consequences, bad ideas have victims.” (John Stonestreet)
A recent news report in Colorado highlighted how legislators voted against making public indecent exposure to kids a felony because it could be used to “ban drag shows and harm transgender people”. In other words, the perpetrator of such exposure becomes the victim.
Is this right? Who is the real victim, the one we should protect? What standard should we use to guide us in understanding whether a law or movement is meant for good or evil? As a GPS guides us on the best route to follow, we must use a moral compass to guide us to true justice.
As someone with 18+ years of ministering in prisons and 7 years ministering in the area of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking, I have seen how laws have impacted those who have been perpetrators, those who have been victimized, and society in general. It is imperative that we view our culture, laws and justice with reliance on the Bible as that moral compass and thus advocate for “Biblical Justice.” It is only through this lens that the world makes sense.
We live in a very turbulent historical moment, a time in which we need to stand for Truth, not confusion or compromise. If we rely on Social Justice, which is based on diversity, identity, and activism, we risk causing greater harm, chaos, and division. Much of what we are witnessing today – confusion in our schools, chaos and crime in our streets, compromise and carnality in churches, corruption in our government, the breakdown in our families – all are the result of Social Justice. “Social Justice” is not the same as “Biblical Justice.” They are not interchangeable terms. Social Justice is built on the premise of equity, a concept far different from equality. “Social Justice” looks through the lens of equity in social and economic factors rather than looking through the lens of God’s moral directives. Social Justice requires that society recognize and hold to beliefs that counter Biblical standards -at the very core is a stealth attack on God’s design, Imago Deo, the value and dignity of life made in the image of God.
“If we want to know what is most sacred in the world, all we need do is look for what is most violently profaned.” ( Christopher West )
As Christians we have a mandate to live out our faith in action, to be “doers of the Word”: to love our neighbors as ourselves, to be a voice for the voiceless, to help the poor and needy, to end slavery, to advocate for racial reconciliation, and to pursue unity without partiality or prejudice. To advocate for Biblical Justice is consistent with our faith, because we are first and foremost “Christ’s Ambassadors.” Our definition of social justice must reflect God’s sovereignty and His dominion over all of life. We are mandated to seek justice (Jeremiah 22:3, Isaiah 1:17, Psalm 82:3-4). However, when we pursue justice with an approach that is not compatible with God’s character, when we seek laws or movements because they sound like good ideas, we run the risk of causing greater harm.
“The problem is not with the quest for justice. The problem is what happens when that quest is undertaken from a framework that is not compatible with the Bible. And this is a very real problem, because the extent to which we unwittingly allow unbiblical worldview assumptions to shape our approach to justice is the extent to which we are inadvertently hurting the very people we seek to help.” (Thaddeus Williams)
“Defend the weak and the fatherless, uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy. Deliver them from the hands of the wicked.” (Ps 82:3-4).
“The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart – and through all human hearts.”
In summary, we are to advocate for justice for righteousness’s sake, to bring light into the darkness – to the glory of God alone – Soli Deo Gloria.
Wendy J. Smith
Fellow, Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Ambassador of Hope
Wendy J. Smith, RN, MSN, ACNP- retired, has worked in the medical field for over 40 years, specializing in hematology/oncology. During her healthcare career she published within her profession in both text and peer reviewed journals. She has also been a speaker on the state and national level addressing issues pertinent to hematology/oncology nursing, and advocacy for her patients and profession. Since retiring, Wendy has been able to focus on issues impacting our culture today, primarily writing and focusing on issues pertain to human trafficking and pro-life. Wendy volunteers with 3 different anti-trafficking non-profits and has been involved in prison ministry for 18+ years. She is also a Fellow of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. (www.colsoncenter.org).
Wendy is married to her best friend, Fred. Fred and Wendy enjoy living in Colorado Springs close to their daughter, Sarah, son-in- law, John, three granddaughters and one grandson: Abigail, Anna, Ali and Hunter Stonestreet. Psalms 71:18 “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.” (NIV)
Some examples of publications: