Justice Is Not A Fashion Statement
Justice is a hot topic today.
For many, it has simply become "fashionable" to talk about the value of justice.
We have shirts that say 'justice' and we post articles about it on Facebook.
But at what point does the word lose it’s value?
At what moment do we look around and realize that for all of the times we say the word, we actually do very little about it?
We say justice matters to us.
We claim we care.
But how many of us would actually be willing to make a sacrifice to see justice come into our world?
Would we give up our comfort for the comfort of others?
Would we give up our wants for the needs of our world?
Would we risk our very lives in order to save the lives of our fellowman?
If we are honest, the answer to those questions is often, “No.”
At least, it is for me.
But, when we look back, we see our history is full of human beings who refused to be content with the way the world was.
They saw injustice in the world and they knew it was up to them to stop it.
Perhaps one of the most inspirational and admirable world-changers is the courageous Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German, Lutheran Pastor, theologian, and anti-Nazi dissident.
Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his staunch resistance to the Nazi Dictatorship and to Hitler. He was arrested in 1943 by the Gestapo, imprisoned at Tegel prison and later was transferred to a Nazi Concentration Camp. After being allegedly associated with the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, he was briefly tried, and then executed on April 9th, 1945 as the Nazi regime collapsed.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer saw incredible injustice in the world during the time of World War II.
But He was German.
He could have stayed under the radar and probably stayed alive.
But He didn’t.
He took a stand and risked his own life to save the lives of millions.
Did he succeed?
No. He did not succeed in his mission to end the terror of Hitler’s reign.
But what does success truly mean?
God called and Dietrich said, "Yes"
The point is: There was an injustice in our world, and Dietrich took action.
The point is: There was very real evil and Dietrich sacrificed everything to see it changed.
Dietrich stood against the world.
He stared injustice straight in the eyes and declared truth, without apology.
He turned to God for His strength and His guidance, and then He turned towards the world and began to fight the injustice.
Bonhoeffer was 33 years old when he decided to take action on the calling He felt God leading him towards; activism against the plot of Hitler.
Dietrich wrote of this great decision in a letter to his former professor. “I have had the time to think and pray about my situation and that of my nation to have God’s will for me clarified. I have come to the conclusion that…I must live through this difficult period of our national history with the Christian people of Germany. I shall have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people. Christians in Germany will face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat of their nation in order that Christian civilization may survive, or willing the victory of their nation and thereby destroying our civilization. I know which of these alternatives I must choose, but I cannot make that choice in security.”
Dietrich believed He had “God’s will for [himself] clarified,” when He was asked to give up his security, his safety and his comfort to save a nation.
“I cannot make that choice in security.”
The choice Bonhoeffer made was not safe.
His future on this earth no longer felt secure.
And yet, it was the will of God.
We, as followers of Christ, need to stop believing that following Christ means we will always have security and safety on this earth.
Because we won’t.
Our eternities are secure.
Our present is not.
What choice must you make outside of security?
What do you need to sacrifice?
What is God calling you to lay on the line for the sake of others?
In what way will you reflect God’s heart of justice as you fight to give up your security so your life may accomplish something of value?
For what cause must you say, “I cannot make that choice in security.”
It is good to be aware of justice and even to spread the awareness to others.
But justice cannot end with awareness.
God has an adventure story written for your life and it includes danger and fear and insecurity and risk.
But it is right.
On the last day of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life, he was not sitting with his family on a beautiful summer day, drinking tea, and holding the hand of his fiance.
He was preaching a sermon on a Sunday morning to his fellow inmates in Schoenberg prison.
And then, they came for him.
Bonhoeffer’s friend Payne Best recalled that moment and says, “He had hardly finished his last prayer when the door opened and two evil-looking men in civilian clothes came in and said: ‘Prisoner Bonhoeffer. Get ready to come with us.’ Those words ‘Come with us” — for all prisoners they had come to mean one thing only. We bade him good-bye —he drew me aside — ‘This is the end,” he said. ‘For me the beginning of life.’”
Bonhoeffer truly knew what life on this earth was for.
He was prepared to begin the life of eternity Jesus promises for all who believe in Him, where there is no more wrongs to right or injustices to fight.
Justice is not a fashion statement.
Justice is a part of who our God is.
Justice is one way we reflect the love of our Lord to our hurting and broken world.
So go follow in the footsteps of Bonhoeffer.
Discover your cause. Surrender your security. Change the world.