the weblog of Alan Knox

Thinking about Injustice

Posted by on Apr 9, 2008 in community, discipleship, love | 8 comments

A very familiar passage is found in Micah:

What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 ESV)

Since I’m planning to participate in two upcoming synchroblogs that deal with justice, I’ve been thinking about justice and injustice. A conversation that I had last weekend triggered even more thoughts about injustice.

A friend of mine is a vegetarian. Every time the topic is brought up, she would say that she would love to explain why she is a vegetarian sometime, but the time never came up… until this weekend. She explained that she was a vegetarian because of her concerns about injustice – particularly, concerns about the treatment of animals. She made it clear that this was something that she wast struggling with herself, and she was not making a blanket statement that eating meat was bad. In fact, she said that once she had settled the issue in her mind, and once she was convinced that she was consciously thinking about the source of the meat, she would probably begin eating meat again. However, for now, she has decided not to eat meat so that she would not perpetuate any animal cruelty that may be involved.

Recently, I had a conversation with another friend who is very concerned about human trafficking. She is helping to start a student group on campus whose goal is to educate people about trafficking around the world. Again, I have been affected by her passion to reduce injustice.

I appreciate their concerns about injustice, which has helped me further my own thinking about injustice. We know that there is injustice in the world. And, we know that many times oppression, forced labor, child labor, etc. is used to produce many of the products that we use from day to day. To be honest, I am not ready to give up those products, but my friend’s decision to give up meat has caused me to begin thinking through many buying decisions. I am beginning to recognize more and more that the products that I choose to buy or not buy may tend to perpetuate injustice or perhaps even encourage justice. Previously, most of my buying decision have been based on economics. I would buy the most economical product.

I was raised with the Republican-Christian mindset that economics and religion should be connected. Certainly, there is a grain of truth in that statement. My relationship with God will affect the way that I use money. However, my relationship with God is not necessarily connected to a positive or negative national economy, nor to my own accumulation of wealth. It seems that for many – and I would include myself in this group, though perhaps this is changing – the accumulation of personal and national wealth has become a spiritual gauge.

On the other hand, my relationship with God should definitely affect my relationship with other people and the way that I view people. God’s love cannot coexist with the unjust treatment of people. Thus, as God expresses his love more and more through me, I should expect to become more and more concerned with justice and injustice. I wish that I could say that I currently “do justice” in all of my decisions and actions. But, I can’t say that. However, I continue to see God moving my heart in that direction.


8 Comments

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  1. 4-9-2008

    I’m glad you chose to cover this.
    So often I get convicted about life choices that are not loving others, including the products I buy, and the people I ignore.
    I pray that more people will consider the economic implications of the Gospel.

  2. 4-9-2008

    Tim,

    Being completely honest, I’m not at the point where my actions have changed much. However, my thoughts are certainly headed in that direction. Perhaps you can write something about “the economic implications of the Gospel”?

    -Alan

  3. 4-10-2008

    I think God’s heart for righteousness and justice is seen so clearly in all the bible, yet we often don’t talk about those things at all. And, yes, I think righting injustice is all about doing things like standing up against and stopping human trafficking, ending sex trades, ending racial and gender discrimination, etc.

    Someone recently used Micah 6:8 as a justification for “doing right judgment,” in terms of judging others as to the correctness of their beliefs and doctrine…. I’m curious as to your reaction to that. I apologize to ask a question slightly off topic, but I would like to flesh that out.

  4. 4-10-2008

    Good post, Alan. I have been thinking about this more and more these days and I am thinking that God may just be leading me to make a decision to completely shift my buying practices in order to not perpetuate injustice. It’s hard to make such a shift, but I think totally worth it, especially in explaining to my children why we can’t buy this or that.

    Blessings!
    ~Heather

  5. 4-10-2008

    Alan,
    I enjoy reading your blog
    Wonderful post brother.
    I want to encourage you today and hope that you have a blessed week brother. I pray that will pour all of his countless spiritual blessings on you, your family and every aspect of your life.
    In Him,
    Kinney Mabry

  6. 4-10-2008

    Bryan,

    I apologize, but I have not had time to look into the defintion of that Hebrew word. However, I would say that even if the term does mean correcting others in the correctness of their belief, there are plenty of other passages of Scripture that deal with God’s concern for the oppressed.

    Heather,

    Thanks for the comment. I’m not sure how my thinking and purchasing is going to change. But, I’m trusting God to change me as he pleases.

    Kinney,

    Thanks for the kind words and prayer. We definitely need it!

    -Alan

  7. 4-11-2008
  8. 4-11-2008

    Jeff,

    I have seen where people are writing about the Shift conference, but I have not been able to keep up with what’s going on there. Thanks for this link. I’ll make sure to read this report.

    -Alan