Last week I joined millions around the world by taking a red permanent marker and placing a large X on my hand, agreeing with others around the world: Human slavery must end.
The “End It Now” campaign was birthed through Passion and a generation of college students that desire to see the end of the 27 million men, women, and children around the world trapped in the bonds of human slavery.
I love the fact that we are in the middle of a generation willing to lead change, feeling a deep responsibility toward their fellow humans—the ones beside them in class and the ones on the other side of the world. It’s a good thing that they desire to see change. I’m taking a little liberty here, but I’m pretty sure that James would be fine with us including the necessity of taking care of human slaves in his admonishment to believers in Christ that “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1.27).
Here is where I want to get real honest for a minute: We must take this genuine desire to see change in such issues as slavery, poverty, and hunger as a means to remind them that it is because of who Jesus—is in and through us—that we desire this change.
Doing good just to do good is empty. The reason that we desire to see this change is because of the deep transformation we’ve experienced through Jesus.
In Matthew 9:36, Jesus looked upon the masses and had deep compassion—a stirring that was so deep because they did not know Him. The REASON we desire to see such social justice issues addressed is because of a deep stirring we have in our lives because of Jesus.
The Gospel is the center of why we desire to see change. I’m thankful that He has given us the responsibility to be His hands and feet in such difficult times in our world. However, we must never forget that He is the focus of it all.
I think we have a real opportunity to help students and young adults understand a bit more about what it means to follow Him deeply.
Here are a few questions for discussion:
- What’s the connection between The Gospel and Social Justice issues?
- How have you been able to talk about the Good News in connection with the Red X on your hand?
- How can you and our ministry make this more than just a statement about what we are against?
To go deeper in conversation about social justice issues through Bible study, check out Get Uncomfortable by Todd Phillips.
Mark Whitt is the Collegiate and Young Adult Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources. Before joining Lifeway he spent many years on the campus of Murray State University as a campus minister.