We all have blind spots preventing us from pursuing true, biblical justice.
Picture, for example, a young man who just turned 18, living in Charlotte, North Carolina. He’s a faithful Christian. His parents have always been impressed with how seriously he takes his commitment to Christ. They hope he’ll become a pastor one day. It’s 1944, and his older brother has been fighting in the Pacific theater for months now during WWII. He feels a gut reaction as he watches the newsreels showing Hitler’s army devastating defenseless towns. Wanting to join the fight against oppression and totalitarianism, he enlists in the United States Army. He asks to be sent to Europe. He gets his wish, kisses his mother goodbye, and proudly climbs aboard the whites-only bus to the local recruiting center.
The “whites only” bus is an obvious injustice to us, but in 1944, that young man completely missed it. If some Christians in the U.S. got it wrong—supporting slavery and, later, Jim Crow laws that discriminated against black people—what injustices of our generation are we unaware of? Where are we going with the flow instead of standing up for biblical justice? We all get it wrong sometimes. We are all blind to certain issues.
Think of the Old Testament prophets and the sharpness of God’s righteous anger. When I read some of those accounts, I often find myself shaking my head, wondering, “How could the Israelites have been so blind to the justice issues of their day?” We can be sure future generations will turn their gaze back on us and wonder the same thing about some of the things we do now.
None of us wants to be hypocritical. None of us wants to ignore God’s call to justice. Yet it’s easy to look back and judge Christians in the Jim Crow South while still remaining blind to issues of our own time. It’s easy to point out moral inconsistencies from the past, but when was the last time we stopped and seriously considered our own moral blindness?
Here’s where I think we have our biggest blind spot. We’ve become distracted by political talking points and social justice. Often, we focus our attention on confronting the lies flowing from these ideologies, but we leave unchecked our own impaired vision. If we stopped and took a closer look, though, we’d find social justice advocates often touch on real issues—issues biblical justice has the true answers to, issues we’ll miss if we focus exclusively on refuting the ideologies.
I don’t know where your blind spots are, but surely there are many areas of our lives where we need to work on applying true, biblical justice. Let’s not merely react to the culture’s critical theory, social justice, and Marxism while leaving the issues they point to out of the conversation; let’s work to apply the biblical understanding of true justice to issues like racism, prison and police reform, abortion, homelessness, addiction, poverty, fatherlessness, immigration, and more.
We need to examine these issues and then ask ourselves, is true biblical justice being applied to these problems, or are we taking our cues from the culture and then trying to paste a Bible verse over the top of them, all so we can say they’re biblical, when in fact they aren’t?
Take, for example, the judicial system. Often, those with more money get a better legal defense. Having a better defense often leads to more favorable sentences. This is not impartiality or proportionality, two of the key components of biblical justice. There are many issues we could examine, such as this one, that, when held to the standard of biblical justice, falter badly.
The question is, how can we see our blind spots while navigating our own current cultural contexts? How can we be alert to where we’re falling short?
The first step is to listen. James made this point when he said, “Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger” (James 1:19). Listen to the people you disagree with. Purposely place yourself and your mind among people who are different from you. Do this, knowing that your ideas will be tested. Testing your ideas is a good thing.
Consider seriously the ideas you disagree with. Ask yourself why you disagree with them. Maybe you’ll see a blind spot.