I have been doing a lot of soul-searching these last few months and God has continued to stoke the fire in my heart on certain issues. He has challenged me to speak out about things that are not popular conversations/things we just don’t openly talk about too often. I feel that God has called me to speak out, specifically, against the sexual assault of women, women preaching/teaching, racism, world wide oppression of women (which varies depending on country and culture), etc (Personal Note: there are MANY other kinds of injustices but I am unable to speak out against every single injustice in the world. I feel God has specifically asked me to speak out about certain things). Instead of getting into lengthy conversations about it I will post my thoughts here (I hope it will makes sense) and helps you understand a bit more about why I choose not to be silent on these matters as well as some things God has been showing me about His heart towards these specific matters.
Let’s start here:
Did Jesus speak out? Did he call out oppression, racism, and sexism?
Yes, yes He did.
- Jesus spoke against injustice (specifically against women) in a time when
women were nothing more than silent servants to their husbands or fathers (in society’s eyes- but not in Jesus’ eyes). When the woman “caught in the act of adultery” was thrown at his feet by men calling for justice (meaning they wanted to stone her to death – but not the man she was caught adulterating with), Jesus doodled in the sand, called the men out on their double standard, and every man dropped their stones and left. Jesus was an advocate for an injustice against a woman.
Jesus dealt with sexism- double standards for men and women, as well as violence towards women. See John 8 for this full story.
In Luke 7 we see Jesus having dinner at one of the religious leaders homes with his disciples and a group of Pharisees. While they are talking, a woman rushes in (a woman Scripture refers to as a “sinful woman” which means she was probably a prostitute) and falls at the feet of Jesus and begins to weep, wetting his dirty feet with her tears. She also dumps her life savings (in the form of expensive perfume) on Jesus’ feet and dries his feet with her hair. We all know the story. While this is happening the religious leaders get angry and Jesus defends the woman in front of a house full of angry men-including His disciples (His friends). See verses 44-47. Jesus, a man, defends a woman. Even more than that she was called a “sinful” woman, to the religious leaders. These religious leaders were disgusted by this woman’s act and just as shocked by Jesus’ response.
Luke 7:39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
Jesus tells them a parable and calls them out on their prejudice and prideful hearts (because they considered themselves higher and much better than this ‘disgusting woman’). Then, as if He hadn’t offended his hosts enough, He tells this sinful woman her sins are forgiven! In front of a group of men who were looking at this woman as though she were nothing more than a stray dog – Jesus showed her compassion, love, mercy, and forgiveness regardless of what the religious leaders said
2. Jesus ministered to a woman He shouldn’t have, because of her race. He also shouldn’t have been talking with her, especially alone, since she was a woman. We see Jesus defy the racism and sexism in that culture in this story. In John 4 we have the story of the woman at the well, a story we all know and have heard a million times. In that time Jews and Samaritans “did not associate with one another” (see verse 9). Jesus defies the racism of the culture and spends time talking with this woman and blowing her mind with His insight into her (sinful) life. That woman was the first evangelist of the testimony of Jesus Christ. In verse 39 it says that many of the Samaritans of the town believed in Jesus because of this woman’s testimony.
3. Jesus loved to be with the outcasts – the lowest and most disdained people in society. We see tons of examples where Jesus healed lepers (unclean people who were forced to live outside of the city together), blind men, possessed people, sick women, diseased people, fed masses of hungry and poor people, ministered to tax collectors, allowed women to be taught alongside the men (gasp!), restoring dignity and self-worth to women being abused by men, etc. Jesus didn’t let the culture of the time tell him who he should or should not associate with. He went to the lowest people on the social chain and loved them. (For examples read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).
4. Jesus called out injustice to people’s faces and He often did it publicly. He called out the ones inflicting pain, racism, sexism, and prejudice. He didn’t stay silent because he would offend someone, He didn’t sit quietly by as women were being abused and treated like animals. He didn’t shut His eyes as He passed the homeless or the diseased. He didn’t cover His ear as people cried out for Him to do something. Jesus wasn’t afraid of offending the minds of the people of the culture He was in because He was doing His Father’s business. In Matthew 21 we see Jesus tell a few parables calling out the Pharisees about injustice. The crazy part is that in verse 45 it says the Pharisees and Chief Priests knew Jesus was referring to them and they were so angry they started trying to find a reason to arrest Him.
Over and over again we see Jesus defend women, be kind and compassionate to those society treated as outcasts, loved people who society didn’t think He (a Jew) should even associate with (Galileans, Samaritans, sinners, etc), and He even rebuked His disciples a few times for their own prejudices (Matthew 19 (refusing children), Luke 9 (thinking lesser of people outside of their disciple group).
Does the Bible say we should confront injustice, call it out, and do something? Well, we have looked at some examples of Jesus’ life so let’s pull some Scripture…
Prov. 31:8-9 “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Is. 1:17 “seek justice, correct oppression, bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause”.
Jer. 22: 3 “Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. Do no wrong to the resident alien, the fatherless and widow.”
1 John 3:17-18 “But if anyone has the world’s good and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in you?
Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners”.
When someone has a heart for injustice that means they are reflecting the compassion, mercy, and empathy of God. They are being a voice for those who have no voice, they are advocating for those who are outcasts, oppressed, or abused.
It’s hard to be brought face to face with the injustice of the world because it makes us feel uncomfortable, or it can be overwhelming and make us feel helpless. We are incapable of saving and helping everyone. But, we can make a difference.
Jesus thought social justice was important.
I am a social justice person. It is one thing I am passionate about. It is one thing I am outspoken about. It is one thing I feel God has called me to advocate and speak out about. It is one of the ways I reflect the Father’s heart for the abused, outcast, and oppressed. I cannot be silent and I cannot stop raising awareness. I cannot stop speaking for women who are abused and assaulted. It is one of the things that burns inside my veins and makes my heart ache. I feel the Father’s heart for these issues and that is why I post, speak, and am unable to sit silently. I have not perfected or mastered the best way to do this. I am still learning the most honoring and most respectful ways to do this, but I will get better at it.
This is my cause.
We all have a cause – something that the Father has placed in our heart and given us a passion for (ie: missions, homeless ministry, preaching, church planting, advocating women in ministry, adoption, etc). Whatever God has called you to or you feel passionate about, do it. Don’t be afraid to take the first step.What God has called you to is unique and will look different from what He has called me to – but, they are equally important! Whatever God has given you a desire to do or a cause to stand for – do it! Be mighty, be brave! Every part of the body is important and every person’s function is equally important! Your voice is needed. What God has called you to do is needed, important, and world changing. Whether you are speaking out and advocating for the abused, pastoring a church, leading small group, being a missionary in the jungle, cleaning your church, empowering women, teaching children, being a full time parent, or whatever it is God has you doing…remember, it is ALL important and it is ALL Kingdom work.
I end with this….
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
(Originally published at sierrawhite.com. Reprinted with permission.)