It can be challenging to know how to respond to the broken world we live in. Your mind is full of questions. When will it stop? What could I possibly do to help? Why does God allow suffering?
You flip on the news and see only disaster, disease, poverty, and war. Your social media feed makes you uncomfortably aware of how rampant corruption and exploitation are in the world.
And that’s not even mentioning the injustices that have been hidden for ages that are only now coming to light.
For many non-believers, injustice is often the stumbling block to faith. For them, it’s not just a question of why does God allow suffering? but specifically, why does God allow evil?
How could an all-good, all-powerful God allow his children to experience pain and violence? And worse, how could he allow those responsible to get away with it?
Surely a God with this much power can stop injustice in the blink of an eye. Why doesn’t he?
The problem of evil
Many people deal with the problem of evil by denying it altogether.
Evil, they say, must be a matter of perspective. What society believes about good and evil depends on their culture, historical context, and the ideologies of the people in power. What is “right” depends on where you live and how you see things. How else can we justify people being so cruel?
And yet, all across the globe, people are crying out for justice.
Instead of trusting in the systems of this world to tell them what is right, they’re hungering for true peace, freedom, and equality. Despite what people say with their mouths about evil, their hearts burn to see the world set right.
When it comes to fighting for justice, Christians should be on the frontlines.
But wait a minute. Isn’t our call to preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations? How does social justice have anything to do with the Great Commission?
Social justice is not only an integral part of missions, but it is at the very heart of our faith. Only Jesus can bring the freedom the world so desperately craves.
We are the solution
As Christians, we have two specific beliefs that empower us to face injustice.
First, we believe we have a God-given mandate to care for the poor and needy. When we look at the ministry of Jesus, we see that he never ignored the physical needs of the people.
If he didn’t let the hungry go without food, then neither should we.
James 2:14-17 says: "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
Second, when we look at everything through the lens of the gospel, we are better equipped to understand the problem of evil.
We’re all too familiar with the sin inside of our own hearts. Not only does Jesus restore us personally, but He can restore entire systems, governments, and cultures. Nothing is beyond His redemptive power. Nothing else can fix what we’ve broken.
The gospel tells us that evil has already been defeated. The fight has already been won. While others might despair and say that justice can never be achieved, we look forward to a day when all people and all nations are restored.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain.” (Revelation 21:4, NIV)
It’s time to join the fight
However, we're not called to sit on the sidelines while we wait for that day to come.
Jesus made an extraordinary sacrifice for us, and following him requires us to make sacrifices for others. Once we have an experience with God’s transformative, redeeming power, we’re called to go out and be the light of the world.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9, NIV)
In our current world filled with pain, when people ask: where is God? where is his justice?, we have an answer for them: You and I are the instruments of God's justice. The world may not see God face to face yet, but they will see him in us.
We are called to stand up for the poor, broken, and the marginalized. We are compassionate in action, carrying hope into this dark world.
If you aren’t content with living on the sidelines any longer, and you want to learn what it truly means to be the hands and feet of Jesus, consider enrolling in our Discipleship Training School.