Lately there’s a push to make social justice sexy. All of a sudden it’s really cool to change the world. This direction is not completely bad though. It’s true: it is really cool to change the world! And thankfully there is more awareness than ever before on issues that affect people around the world. I’m worried though, that there may be an abundance of awareness and very little engagement. We live in a shallow fast-food generation and I’m afraid that our focus on changing the world often carries the same weight. What ever happened to that Kony movement anyway??? It’s like a relationship where we want the perks but there’s no actual commitment. We want to be seen in pictures with Justice, we want to talk about how cute Justice is, we want a few people to know that we’re involved with Justice… but we never make it down the aisle to the altar to seal the deal. It’s a trophy relationship. When things get tough, people flake out. It’s all fun when you’re going out for movies and ice cream but what happens when you need to dig through the hard issues of someone’s past? Or when you find out that person doesn’t ever pick up their socks?
This article is inspired by the musings of my heart and a great talk that I heard from Gary Haugen, CEO of International Justice Mission. Gary stated that justice is Love, and Love is a long walk of obedience in the same direction. The work of Love is not glamourous all the time. In fact it’s not glamourous most times. The truest and deepest manifestations of Love are found in laborious faithfulness and consistency. It’s found in the teacher that continues to fight depression to go to school and give the students everything he or she has day in and day out. It’s found in the husband who continues to put on his wife’s socks every morning when she can no longer do that for herself. It’s found in the people that are willing to brave the monotony of legal paperwork for countless hours in the hopes that they will see a change in their lifetime. It’s found in the ushers at church that greet people every week and get little recognition. It’s found in my own grandpa who insists on being the one to iron my shirt and pants for work no matter how tired he is (he keeps the ironing board in his room so I can’t sneak in and do it). That is the Love that conquers death.
There is the Love that overcomes fear; the one that will make someone run into a burning building that everyone else is running out of just to save the person they care about. But there is an even more powerful and eternal type of Love that exists. It’s a love that won’t go away, a love that exists against all reason. This Love doesn’t make any sense. It defies all of the odds. It’s the Love that Jesus loves us with, one that would sacrifice everything and engage in relentless a pursuit with no guarantees of reciprocation. Don’t get it twisted, this is not some weird, stalker obsession. Instead it’s a quiet, often boring, and seemingly unrewarding journey of putting someone else’s needs above your own.
“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” ~ Mother Theresa
Most people have a threshold. They say in their heart, “I’m willing to do this and no more”. My challenge to us (myself included) is to truly engage in Love and justice with a “till death do us part” type of commitment. Push the limit. Overall, I think it’s a good thing to gain more awareness and to begin the process of walking a life that is lived on behalf of others, wherever that journey starts. I’m not knocking anyone for trying, but I am imploring us all to go further, go deeper than we have ever gone before and be willing to find ourselves living past the point of no return. Start with the people around you. Love is a way of life, not just something you feel. Jesus loved us until the point of death. And this is the radical Love that will change the world.