Justice ADD has gone viral. Millennials appear most prone to catch the disorder although Generation Z is highly susceptible. To understand how to cure our problem with Justice ADD let’s examine the cause and effect before looking at solutions.
Understanding the cause of Justice ADD
First, like the apocalyptic “Simian Flu Pandemic” of Planet of the Apes legend, Justice ADD is a fictional pandemic named by myself but identified by several justice leaders. My friend Rich Stearns used the phrase “Cause ADD” in an article this week in Christianity Today. My friend Eugene Cho made it the subject of his book Overrated. I strongly encourage you to listen to this two minute video as Eugene defines the problem.
Second, the cause of Justice ADD is a side effect of technological advancement. As we entered an age of globalization with easy access to information and images from everywhere, we became more aware of injustice. I’m part of Generation X which followed the Boomers. As a child the American flag waved at midnight as all four channels of television shut down. No internet or computer was available. My news came from newspapers, magazines and Walter Cronkite. I read actual books.
Millennials gained access to the Internet and smart phones. Cable news brought hundreds of channels from around the world. Google brought vast information immediately to your fingertips. As phones videoed atrocities which could be posted instantly over social media, the world grew smaller.
Information and globalization have been powerful agents of change but they also created Justice ADD. In a fast paced world we began bouncing from one justice issue to the next with little true impact.
Examining the Effect of Justice ADD
The effect of Justice ADD has been a rise in fad support. Whether a Hollywood benefit concert, bumper stickers, rallies, giving over apps, or making a quick call, we have tapped into instant justice panaceas. We’ve made it easy to feel good about talking about injustice in coffee shops while not having to actually sacrifice anything. But justice has a cost.
Another effect is a numbing that sets in with compassion fatigue. The images keep coming. Tweets, videos and Facebook post are everywhere. It is all overwhelming. At some point the hype wears off and you give up on actually having sustainable justice impact.
Administering the Cure to Justice ADD
If you were diagnosed with a rare disease tomorrow, what would you do? My guess is you would focus the benefits of information and globalization. You’d focus your energy on understanding the disease and the best ways to combat it. You’d find the leading doctor in the world and seek her out. You would look for support from others. Then you would commit your time, energy and resources to fighting the disease.
Injustice is a disease. Injustice is the cancer unleashed upon mankind when sin entered the world. Attack that disease in the same way you would any other disease by first understanding it. Second, find an expert. Third, find support. Fourth, commit your time, energy and resources to the fight.
1. Understand injustice.
Before your Justice ADD morphs into Justice Paralysis, find your passion. Pick one area and go deeper. You need to understand more than a tweet. Injustice covers volumes and there is much to learn. Find a good internship, discover a class or degree that will equip you for sustainable justice work. I strongly encourage you to consider a law degree. All injustice intersects with law. Having a law degree provides you with a powerful tool for making a difference. If you have a law degree you join less than ½ of 1% of a population where 100% are impacted by laws.
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There is a critical second element to understanding injustice. God hates evil. “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them.” Isa. 61:8
God rewards those who stand in the gap against injustice. He invites us to understand that justice cost everything. Jesus knew this. It cost Him everything. He defeated injustice through death on the cross. He ask the same of us. Christ ask us to die to ourselves, pick up our cross, and do justice. We must understand God’s word and His will if we are to unleash the power of the Holy Spirit into the dark places of injustice.
2. Find an expert.
My friend Rich Stearns says, “Poverty is rocket science. Simple solutions simply don’t exist…Most of us don’t know what to do, but someone does! Some people are pouring every ounce of God-given wisdom into the resolution of these problems. We need specialist organizations.” He’s right.
Someone has poured decades of their life into developing best practices in combatting injustice. Seek them out. Bring your creativity and energy to the work, but don’t ignore the value of a mentor who has decades of demonstrated commitment. Both my friends Eugene Cho and Rich Stearns fit this category as Eugene leads One Days Wages and Rich leads World Vision. And Rich says the same of me.
As Christians, we are all called ‘ to loose the chains of injustice…to set the oppressed free.’ Bruce Strom gives an inspiring example for fulfilling this call. Rich Stearns
3. Find support
No one does justice alone. Surround yourself with others. We help people create teams to serve legal needs in your neighborhood. We provide training and orientation to deepen impact. Other ministries have similar support systems. Tap into them.
Read Is Justice Overrated, our review on Eugene’s book with several examples of people going deeper in doing justice.
Every person must find their purpose. Either you believe you are a random piece of carbon just sucking up oxygen for a few years until you become worm food; or you believe your life has purpose. Too many people lose sight of their purpose in pursuit of work, family, and even good activities. God created you for a specific purpose. That purpose is to glorify Him. You do that by loving Him and loving your neighbor. And you love your neighbor by doing justice.
There are many ways to do that, but all center on sacrificing time and resources to serve your neighbor. Jesus set the example for us to follow. He washed feet. He loved sinners. And He invites us to serve Him by serving ‘one of the least of these.’ Mt. 25:40. You will receive no greater invitation.
Our enemy is the author of injustice. He is the father of lies. And one of his best lies is being BUSY. As I wrote in Gospel Justice, busy is an acronym for Being Under Satan’s Yolk. Too many people think they are serving God as they race from one good activity to the next. But that is a lie of the Devil. Jesus’s invitation is not to join Him in a good activity. His invitation is to join Him in the dirt fulfilling His mission to proclaim good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Lk 4:18-19
The cure to the problem of Justice ADD
The cure to the problem of Justice ADD is to commit to regularly serving others with the hope of the gospel and practical help. If you care about legal injustice, we invite you to join us in this work. E-mail Justine at email@example.com to start a conversation. If your passion lies elsewhere find a Christ-centered organization and get focused. Dare to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God. Mic. 6:8.