‘Justice isn’t an optional extra in discipleship. It’s about worship not duty. A consistent posture, not a token gesture’ – Just Love: The Vision.
Posture is the way we hold ourselves. No matter the climate – the mid-term busyness or relaxed summer months – it’s our default stance or walk.
This causes me deep challenge and excitement all at once. Challenge, as so often I get wrapped up in the ethical fads, the one-off tick boxes and excuses of the ‘one-day’, only to default back to the ease, blissful ignorance and (if I’m being honest) selfishness. But also, excitement because I know the One who changes hearts, the One who changes posture, the One with whom justice begins. Jesus – the One who poured out all so I could walk in worship not duty, and have justice as my posture not just a token gesture.
Imagine being known as a generation yearning for a consistent posture of justice? In every day hearts tuned to Jesus’ heart and daily invitations, with the result being a walk of consistent love, compassion and generosity.
At International Justice Mission (IJM), we face into some of the worst forms of slavery and exploitation and amid such lawless chaos, increasingly recognise the need for consistency. Only through consistent prayer will we see breakthrough, only through consistent law-enforcement will we see an end to slavery. In the words of IJM’s CEO and founder, Gary Haugen:
‘The victims of injustice in our world do not need our spasms of passion; they need our long obedience in the same direction – our legs and lungs of endurance; and we need sturdy stores of joy.’
The work of justice is long and boring. In Hebrew the word for justice is mishpat, referring to when things divert from God’s intention and require restoration. We are surrounded by need for restoration, with neighbours trapped in injustice and loneliness near and far. Much is to be set right and the long obedience this requires starts today. Posture doesn’t change in a moment – we can build up strength through small but intentional everyday decisions.
As we enter these summer months, whether busy or quiet, opportunities to develop this consistent posture of justice remain in every day, meal and decision.
I graduated from university in Edinburgh two years ago. And on reflection, there are two climates I consistently find battlegrounds for determining posture – busyness and the holidays.
Deadline season, libraries packed with students trying to juggle studies, committee-roles, work, internship applications. Sometimes it just feels too much. What does a consistent posture of justice look like amid this?
In these seasons, while at uni, Tupperware became my closest ally…
Every day I was surrounded by people I knew would eat three times that day, so I took this as three opportunities a day to combat loneliness and restore community. People were so busy they would just run to the shop for a meal deal (packaging galore) and eat it on route back to their desks – no wonder everyone was so sad! So, some friends and I began bringing spare Tupperware of food to the library to share – living generously didn’t need to add stress, it fit into life, three times a day.
You have no idea the impact your everyday routine could have on the life of someone else. Amid the busyness, ask Jesus to shift your gaze, beyond yourself and the stress, to opportunities for restoration.
Then, you’ve finished your studies – four months of sun, freedom and bliss await! Again, this is when I would find myself slipping, my posture becoming more self-orientated with each day.
Whether your summer plans involve an office internship, travelling, or a local job, ask Jesus to help you remember.
In his book Good News About Injustice, Gary Haugen writes about ‘compassionate permanence – a courageous and generous capacity to remember the needs of an unjust world even when they are out of our immediate sight.’
When the realities of injustice seem so far away, ask Jesus for compassionate permanence – the ability to remember and see need. Whether you invite people in need of encouragement for a home-cooked meal, choose to buy from ethical brands, or stand in the gap in prayer for the girl trapped in a brothel awaiting rescue – your everyday could change someone else’s everyday.
In John 10:10 Jesus says, ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full’. Our choices within these battlegrounds – the busyness or the quiet break between terms – determine our posture. Whilst the thief seeks to distract and rob, Jesus invites us to Himself and from here, into a consistent posture of compassion and generosity, prompting each step within the long walk of justice.
When passion meets perseverance, we will see change – postures strengthened with a robust consistency to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly.