Your Kingdom Come: The Case Against Racism

Devotional

Day 4: Justice and Love


What does the word “justice” evoke in you? 


Justice is often seen as something to pursue after we experience injustice. But it can also be a way of living that prevents injustice from occurring in the first place. We might each feel that we know what is just, however we may lack consensus in our definitions. Though widely used, this weighty word can mean different things to different people influenced by values, context and experiences. 


In the Bible justice is a vast topic permeating both the Old and New Testaments. So what does it mean to “act justly” according to God? When we look at the word itself - its etymology - the English word for justice comes from the Latin word “iustitia” which derived from “ius” meaning “law.” From this we can infer that “acting justly” stems from acting according to the law. We know that human laws are imperfect and if we desire to please God, we must turn to His law. In the Old Testament God gave His people the Law, which was made of many laws. When asked about the most important commandment in the Law Jesus answered: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: you shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)


Jesus boiled the whole Law down to these two commandments: love God and love your neighbour yet at its essence racism opposes both. The racist mind elevates itself as superior and deems another as inferior because of skin colour. It withholds access to resources, opportunities and power contradicting the generous and sacrificial love that Christ exemplifies. In withholding love from others, racism also prevents people from fulfilling God's first command to love Him as these commandments are inextricably intertwined: we cannot love God if we do not love our neighbours. “But if we say we love God and don’t love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don’t love the people we can see? The commandment that God has given us is: “Love God and love each other!”” (1 John 4:20-21)


Racist ideologies do not submit to the laws of God and thus, have no place in the heart and mind of Christ followers. To “act justly” is to act in love and 1 Corinthians 13:7 reminds us that love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” We do not do this in our own strength because true love and justice flows from the heart of God.


Reflection points:


Read 1 Corinthians 13 and reflect on the relationship between justice and love.


Ask God to shed light on areas of your life where you have not been acting justly, and to reveal if racism has taken any root in your heart. Take time to repent.


Watch the Bible project video on Justice for more information on Biblical justice.