How should Christians think about social justice?

Social justice is cool.  As a matter of fact it’s SO cool, it’s hot; arguably one of the hottest topics in pop culture today. From college campuses, to Hollywood’s biggest celebrities, to politicians across the spectrum, to everyday Americans with the power of social media, publicly and passionately championing justice and legal rights has become the message of multiplied millions of Americans, including many Christians.

How should we as followers of Jesus think about social justice and our role in the public sphere when certain issues like gay marriage and abortion conflict with the Word of God?

The first thing that we need to remember is, that although we have the blessing of being citizens of the great United States of America that was founded 240 years ago, our primary citizenship is not actually in the USA. As much as I love the Star Spangled Banner and the republic for which it stands, the glorious reality is, as Followers of Jesus, our primary citizenship is not in the young nation that our great American forefathers founded in 1776. Our primary and central citizenship is in the eternal Kingdom that our great Savior inaugurated with His life, His death, and His resurrection! Our ultimate allegiance must be to the Kingdom and not to our country.

The second thing that we would do well to remember is that as Christians, we may align deeply with social justice causes, but we must resolve to make the message of the Cross our heartbeat, and resist the temptation to allow any other message to become our Gospel. This is not to say that the message of the Cross is the only message. It is to say that the Gospel must be the central message in our lives. Everything that warrants our passion and energy must be filtered through our passion to see people be forgiven of their sins and be given life in Christ.

Lastly, we would do well to ask God to grant us His wisdom. Social justice issues can be tremendously complex, nuanced, and delicate. God has called us to be both members of our context as well as missionaries to it. And in order to be effective missionaries that are loving people well and working to advance the life-giving kingdom of God in our part of the world, we are going to need His wisdom. As we root ourselves in His Word, as we benefit from being connected in a healthy Gospel community, and as we seek to live our lives for Him, God is faithful to grant wisdom and to not only wash us of our sins and walk with us, but He is faithful to work through us.