Here is my latest effort for Our Daily Journey (constructive feedback is always appreciated). I hope the opening paragraph doesn’t sound too critical. I’m just being honest, and I put myself in the same boat.
When asked what my seminary students are passionate about, I immediately ticked off a few issues of social justice—the plight of the poor, the rights of minorities, and ending slavery and sex trafficking. And then it struck me. While this is an impressive list, something seems to be missing. The Bible teaches us to seek justice for the oppressed, but its longest chapter is a meandering poem about itself.
Could I imagine my students—could I imagine myself—being as passionate about the Word of God as the Israelite who wrote Psalm 119? Do we “delight in your decrees” and rejoice “in your laws as much as in riches”? Are we “always overwhelmed with a desire for your regulations”? (v.20).
God’s laws may not tug on our hearts like the sad and weary eyes of the oppressed, but we must never forget that the primary reason we care is because God cares, and his Word instructs us to fight for them. “Seek justice. Help the oppressed,” urges Isaiah, “Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows” (1:17). James concurs: “Pure and genuine religion…means caring for orphans and widows in their distress” (1:27).
Here’s one way to tell whether our right concern for social justice is replacing our passion for God’s Word. When we read something in Scripture that seems to oppose the rights of the oppressed, do we brush off the passage and explain it away, or do we submit to it as God’s best for this group? For example, do we believe God when he declares that homosexual practice is sin (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9), or do we look for a rationale to accept this behavior?
The best way to love people is to love God’s Word. Make Scripture your primary passion, then do what it says. You’ll help a lot of people.