I have never been a big fan of Glenn Beck. The few times I have listened he and his sidekick reminded me of a couple of high school boys sitting around the lunch room table making sniggering comments about their classmates. He lost me for good when he made the comment that churches that promote “social justice” are Communists and Nazis. To him social justice is just a code word for forced income redistribution. (I lost a Facebook friend when I mentioned that Glenn Beck called me a Communist Nazi…but that’s another story).
Well…Timothy Keller has written an excellent book, Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just, that does a much better job of stating my case than I would. Timothy Keller cites verses from the Old and New Testament that make the case that God expects us, as believers, to deliver justice to the oppressed.
Zechariah 7:10-11: Adminster true justice, show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the immigrant or the poor.
Deuteronomy 10:18-19: He defended the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.
34“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. 35For 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, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Keller says that justice is not a left or right wing political issue but a commandment to care for the poor, the oppressed. Glenn Beck got it half right…justice is about redistribution of wealth but it is done voluntarily by the Believers with love. It is done with with the donation of time to care for the poor, with equitable business practices. Keller gives examples of businessmen who passed up profits because it wasn’t just. Would we have had the housing crash that brought down the economy if loving your neighbor was a driving principle of the market? Would there even be discussions such as this:
Social Justice is important, it is a good thing. And Timothy Keller makes a much better case of why this is so than I do. And I am not doing enough.
I gotta go…