My friend Eugene Cho has finally done it – he’s written his first book entitled Overrated. The sub title is aptly, “Are we more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually changing the world”. Are we?
Justice can be a great topic to talk about on College Campuses and in Coffee Shops. But are we allowing justice to change us as we actually do justice with mercy and compassion? That is Eugene’s question. Sometimes I think we are more in love with the idea of justice. That is less costly. Sometimes I think we want to do justice but don’t know how. Let me share some stories of people who are actually changing the world by doing justice.
Cerena is in her 50’s. She loves Jesus. She loves Justice. To bring them together she encouraged her church to do a justice series examining different ways to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly before God. As a result her church is doing a series this Fall and they invited me to speak to launch the series. Another church in Portland, Oregon does this every year in May as part of a “May Justice Roll” campaign. They had Gary Haugen come speak this year. There are many great justice speakers and materials to help move people to specific action.
Eugene wanted to add another sentence to his subtitle – “and in the process be changed ourselves.” It’s too bad that is too long for a book cover because that is the key to doing true justice. A husband and wife in Colorado are studying the book Gospel Justice and Companion Guide – Do Likewise, Living the Gospel through Compassion & Justice. What they are discovering is cool. Rendy, the wife, sent this note a couple of weeks ago:
“I was so inspired by your presentation in Portland. My husband and I are going through your book and study, and praying about the possibility of starting up a Gospel Justice Center in Denver. Reading your book has been life changing. Not so much hearing about the poverty issues, because my job right now (Supreme Court office of the Wyoming Center for Legal Aid) involves this issue – access to justice for the poor, but for us personally – how we really need to deal with some issues of bitterness between ourselves, before we can go out and proclaim the gospel and love our neighbors.”
Dee is in her 40’s. She practiced as an attorney and then stayed home to raise kids. After reading Gospel Justice she wanted to start a gospel justice center and after pulling together a team, studying needs, and talking with church leadership they started serving their local community a couple of months ago. The first day a family walked through the doors of the church which they never would have done except they needed help. They thought they needed a power of attorney to help an elderly relative but actually needed guardianship. The prayers and practical assistance offered restored hope and brought this family back to their faith and the church.
Rachel is in her 20’s. She just finished her first year of law school and is interning with Gospel Justice Initiative. She joined high school, college and another law student to suggest student chapters to study and do practical justice. As a result she is helping build tools and resources for new Justice 4 All student groups that will begin this Fall.
Nancy is in her 30’s. She wanted to pull together a group of friends to raise awareness and funds to support justice for the poor. She found different ideas on our website and she’s pulling together a group of scrapbooking friends for a “Stampin out injustice” party. Others hold races – “Jogging for Justice” or “Race Judicata”. Be creative. Have fun. Raise awareness and do something that makes a difference.
Every neighborhood in America has people who need access to Jesus and access to Justice. What a powerful way to love our neighbor by meeting these needs. Whether studying together, bringing in a speaker to encourage action, establishing a legal aid ministry, raising awareness and funds, sharing the book site, praying or becoming a member of Gospel Justice Initiative (new individual memberships coming next month) – you can do justice and love mercy as you walk humbly with God. Sitting in a coffee shop is not a bad place to start but let’s not carry our coffee cup thinking of great justice work as we walk by a neighbor in need. Let’s be the Good Samaritan. Let’s stop and serve our neighbor. Let’s dare to get involved as we “Go and Do Likewise.”