How would you define "justice"? Sometimes this term is considered either a synonym for liberalism or just doing good work with no sense of Christ in it. This week we learned about a God-centered justice and some of the powerful ways working for His justice can also help young people in their life of sticky faith in Christ ("trusting God" as the authors described in chapter 2).
Some particularly powerful stories and examples in this chapter so get some good ideas by getting the book here.
Justice vs. Service
Powell and Clark note that we need to "turn the corner on short-term service to sustainable justice" (p. 126). Where service is giving a drink of water, justice is considering why doesn't that person have water. In many ways, justice is the atmosphere of God's kingdom, not isolated acts. The entire system of God's kingdom will fulfill justice. Justice is part of who God is.
- For I, the Lord, love justice (Isaiah 61:8).
- God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness [justice], because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished..." (Romans 3:25).
Many other justice verses on p. 127 remind us that this is theologically a part of who God is...not something added.
Absence/Presence in God's Justice: Shalom
The Hebrew term "shalom" is from the Bible and many consider it in terms of peace. Absence of war, difficulty, etc. But it is not just about the absence of bad things but also the presence of right things. It conveys wholeness across many dimensions, including relationships with one another and God. A Christian understanding of justice carries the themes of shalom. If you'd like to read more on the Hebrew meaning, check this out.
A few more keys that Powell and Clark shared from their research:
- Kids want to be involved in service and justice work
- Short-term mission work does not lead to lasting transformation
- Service is stickier when close to home
So...What You Can Do?
Powell and Clark explore a number of themes, teaching by example and principle how you can engage these. In brief, they are:
- Find sticky causes your kids connect with: Takes time but will help you get to know your kids...and encourages the impact of the service with what God is already doing in their heart.
- Serving together as a family: Impact others and creates opportunities for talking together further.
- Make justice work a process (not an event): Some excellent ideas on p. 137-9 on before/during/after 4-step process with some great questions to use. Some examples (with more in book):
- During: What was your favorite/hardest part?
- During: How did you see God at work?
- During: What new questions come up from your experience?
- After: How did God work through you? What does that say about how God might want to work through you now that you're home?
- Develop ongoing relationships with those you serve: God's heart doesn't stop after it is over...neither should ours (Event vs. Process).
- Make justice part of everyday life: Again, some great examples in the book. One family had each parent carry an envelope of money in their wallet that was used only to help someone in need. The kids knew about this and could actively look for opportunities.
- Guide your kids toward caring: Pray and serve together and while actively getting them engaged with mercy, justice and service to those who are poor, broken, or weak. Develop God's heart.
He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. -Micah 6:8
What stood out to you from these points above or the stories in this chapter?
Check out the series or follow-up on the conversations in the posts below:
- An Invitation to Sticky Faith for the Generations (Our intro/invite post)
- Sticky Faith (Ch. 1): The Not-So-Sticky-Faith Reality
- Sticky Faith (Ch. 2): The Sticky Gospel
- Sticky Faith (Ch. 3): Sticky Identity
- Sticky Faith (Ch. 4): Sticky Faith Conversations
- Sticky Faith (Ch. 5): A Sticky Web of Relationships
Next week: Chapter 7 “A Sticky Bridge Out of Home."