Pursuing Biblical justice is an inevitable response of our love for Jesus. It is an overflow of the joy we find in our Savior. Yet when our pursuit of justice is motivated by the applause of the world, and not out of a response of love for our Savior, we often move towards becoming self-righteous in our pursuit of justice. The world applauds but God is not pleased. Oftentimes those who are the object of our justice are actually a tool for us to gain a platform or to demonstrate our self-righteousness.
The evidence is often that we find our (functional) identity in being more righteous than another because we are (theoretically) more justice-minded than another. It is what causes us to subtly say and/or believe:
“I care about the poor more than you, therefore I am more righteous than you.”
“I care about immigrants more than you, therefore I am more righteous than you.”
“I care more about X than you, therefore I am more righteous than you.”
The truth is that many care about these issues and are doing work quietly. Even in secret. For example when we started our little nonprofit ten years ago, we weren't trying to tackle the massive issues behind everything. We just walked the slums, talked to people about Jesus, started churches and engaged in mercy ministry. Without much fanfare. We were not heroes, but neither did we seek a platform. We pursued being a quiet voice.
Certainly louder voices are necessary from time to time, but perhaps a little charity is necessary on our part towards the lesser, quieter voices. After all, people have all kinds of justice-related issues and causes to get behind, yet it is arrogant for us to believe that our issue is the only issue in play. Certainly speaking out on various causes is necessary, and prophetic voices are fine, but I suspect that some in Evangelicalism develop a platform on the backs of those whom they care less about than some would like to admit.
Could it be that often we are not truly concerned with justice for justice sake because of our pursuit of the applause of the world? Example: Causes that are in vogue in the West will gain applause. Causes that are not in vogue are discarded and belittled, even if they have a strong Biblical rationale and impetus.
And our relationship with the greater Church? Some will go so far to make the Church their punching bag - over and over - as it is one of the easiest ways to get the applause of the world.
Are we hated by the world because of our position on an issue? Are we loved? If we're only loved, there is a problem.
“If we were more like Christ, we should be more hated by his enemies. It is a sad dishonor for a child of God to be the world's favorite. It is a very ill omen to hear a wicked world clap its hands and shout "Well done" to the Christian man. He may begin to look to his character, and wonder whether he has not been doing wrong, when the unrighteous give him their approbation. Let us be true to our Master, and have no friendship with a blind and base world which scorns and rejects him. Far be it from us to seek a crown of honor where our Lord found a coronet of thorns.”
Perhaps we should be hated from time to time. Maybe that’s a sign that we are faithful to a Biblical worldview, not being moved and swayed by the instability of the opinion of the world. Perhaps that is a regular part of faithful, Christian, justice ministry.