On Social Justice, Part II

Yesterday, I wrote about one of two problems with the use of the phrase “social justice.”

Today I write of a third and more serious problem with the phrase and offer a an alternative.

I’ve used the phrase “social justice” for years, but there was always something about the phrase that didn’t sit right with me.

It wasn’t that I thought Christians should not be involved in social issues. I did.

It wasn’t that I thought the phrase had become associated with an agenda which many Christians opposed, although it probably had.

The biggest problem I had with using the phrase “social justice” is the “social” part of it. It suggests that society is responsible for injustice, and if everyone is responsible no one is responsible.

The Lord addressed social injustice through the prophet Amos. Some of the issues: Heavy rent on the poor and the accepting of bribes to pervert justice. (Amos 5:11-12).

The Lord’s solution: “. . . let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24). So, that’s what I’m for: justice and righteousness. The phrase captures the importance of justice but rightly places the emphasis on individual righteousness.

I’ll still use the phrase “social justice” when talking to certain people. The idea in picking words is to communicate. It does no good to use words people don’t understand or which evoke the wrong idea.

But when given the right opportunity I will speak of justice and righteousness. GS


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