Today, I’m honored to have veteran journalist Mark Kelly guest posting on Hive Resources with six ways you can multiply God’s Kingdom justice in your world. Mark is the editor and publisher of Multiply Justice where he combines all my favorite worlds – missions, theology, and journalism. He also serves as the media strategist for Baptist Global Response.
Social justice is about relationships that redeem
by Mark Kelly
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Back home in Syria, “Ruth” lived in constant terror.
Ruth and her husband lived in a part of Syria where heavy fighting had broken out between government troops and rebel militias. Life was hard. The local economy was ruined and there were no jobs to be found. As Christians, their family was persecuted by extremist followers of another religion. Ruth had hoped the war would die down, but after eight months, they decided to flee across the border.
Things were hard in the new place too. That economy also was badly depressed, and prejudice against their Christian faith was compounded by resentment of new outsiders crowding into a community already overrun with refugees.
Ruth worries about her children. They are not in school and now have missed a whole year. They cannot enroll in the local schools because they are not citizens of the country. She has no idea if or when her family will be able to return home. They hear stories that indicate things are getting worse back there. They know several of their relatives have been killed. Others have simply disappeared and no one knows what happened to them.
Stories like Ruth’s are heard over and over among Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and elsewhere. Their plight breaks your heart. And you and I both know there are heart-breaking stories everywhere we turn these days: Women forced into sex trafficking. Entire families coerced into slave labor. Children who die simply because their drinking water is polluted or a mosquito infects them with an easily preventable disease. The list could go on and on. The enormity of it all can be overwhelming.
The good news is, one person can make a world of difference. In fact, you can set in motion a ripple of life-change that, in God’s providence, could become a tidal wave of transformation — for you, for people in need, for those around you that God will call into mission along with you.
At Multiply Justice, when we talk about the tremendous potential of your one life to change the world, we talk about the apple seed kingdom. The principle of multiplication built into God’s creation expresses itself not just in nature but also in relationships. Many “social justice” campaigns will tell you how much difference a donation can make, but if you really want to “do justice” and change the world, the key is personal relationships focused on redemption.
Relationships that redeem
The place to start engaging justice issues is not donating to a ministry. While there are many organizations doing excellent work around the world — work too dangerous, complex, or remote for novices — there also are some groups that merely appeal to our consumer mentality. They offer us a commercial transaction that may or may not help people in need, but is guaranteed to make us feel better and give us a souvenir that proclaims our social conscience.
So we do donate generously to legitimate organizations that need our support to bring new lives and New Life to people in need. But women — and mothers in particular — know the Kingdom isn’t about buying bangles and baubles, but about God’s redeeming power giving new birth — one life into another. Jesus brought justice into your life when he began setting you free from your captivity, and he plans to use his relationship with you to bring Kingdom justice into the lives of others.
Six steps to multiply God’s Kingdom justice
How do you get started? Here are six steps to help you begin multiplying God’s Kingdom justice in your world:
(1) Identify God’s call on your life — Explore the range of problems and issues that oppress the weak and vulnerable, both at home and abroad. The MultiplyJustice.net archive covers a wide range of topics. Read as much as you can about the issues that resonate with you and the best ways to help people struggling with those problems. As you do this, listen for what the Lord is saying to you about using the time, talent, and treasure he has entrusted to you.
(2) Find someone who can help you experience that ministry — Part of discovering God’s will for your life is “trying out” the ministry you believe the Lord is leading you into. Our Get Involved! page can help you find trustworthy ministries already engaging many issues.
(3) Learn as much as you can about the issue — Once you have identified the justice issue to which God is calling you, go deep, in both studying and doing. Ask for more responsibility in your justice ministry.
(4) Tell others — The ripple of life-change begins with you. Tell others about the need, about your experiences, about the specific people you are trying to help, about God’s requirement that his people help people in need. Encourage them to seek God’s will for their own lives.
(5) Recruit others to help — Some of the people God has placed in your life still need to discover God’s call for their own lives. Invite them to help you in your ministry situation. Under the guidance of your pastor and other church leaders, begin meeting with them regularly. Consult our Resources page to find ideas about how to spend your time together.
(6) Plan to multiply — Meditate on the apple seed kingdom. Let the Lord speak to your heart about the tremendous potential of your own life to change the world. Ask the Lord to lead you into the relationships that will change your life and, in turn, bring his Kingdom justice to people in need.
You can help Syrian refugees like Ruth by donating to the Syria Crisis Fund of Baptist Global Response at www.gobgr.org.