Thinking Biblically about Equality, Justice & Reconciliation


John Ross

Issues of equality, justice and reconciliation exploded into public consciousness through the May 25, 2020, murder of George Floyd, at the hands of four police officers, one of whom knelt on his neck for minutes. Global protests against police brutality and racism caused many who had been frustrated or unaware of these issues to learn, listen, research and act. 

Still today, competing slogans, platforms, charts, memes, diatribes, facts, studies and demands continue to bombard social-media feeds and news channels. Many feel pulled in different directions — simultaneously inspired and overwhelmed, assured and uncertain. Voices have joined the conversation from across the political spectrum. Important questions remain unresolved: 

What constitutes racism? How deeply does this issue affect people, families and culture? What role should government play in fixing issues? How should an individual respond? What worldviews lie behind major activist groups? How much does that matter? What should equality look like in America? 

These questions acquire added urgency for followers of Jesus. We’re called to share God’s reconciliation and hope to a broken world. So understanding social issues is crucial to meeting spiritual, relational and emotional needs. In doing so, we want to avoid the church’s historic mistakes. On one hand, we never want to repeat shameful periods when believers ignored or even participated in despicable social injustice such as antebellum slavery or Jim Crow regulations; on the other, we want to avoid compromising with culture on issues antithetical to the biblical worldview. Christians might not agree on how to engage, but we can agree that well-formed ideas and strategies are essential for staying winsome. The goal is moving forward the way God wants. 

1: Biblical Foundations

Your starting point is often the most important point, and it’s easy to find the wrong one amid the constant stream of information. Many perspectives are helpful, though often founded on a wrong or atheistic basis. We should remember that all human vantagepoints — even those of reputable scholars — are dwarfed by God’s infinite wisdom. Our starting block must be God’s word.

  • The Bible is the supreme, inspired authority on all matters, especially important ones: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Divine inspiration sets the Bible apart as the primary lens through which the world is to be viewed and experienced: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). Acknowledging the Bible as the supreme source of truth isn’t abstract: It’s how we figure out issues of culture, politics, economics, class, race and gender. It doesn’t always speak as directly as we’d like (“Which candidate should I support? Should I go to a protest or not?”), but biblical principles guide a godly response. 
  • Academic theories, political systems or economic ideologies often provide insight into current events. Yet we need to assess them in light of Scripture, not the other way around. For example, a biology textbook can help us understand the circulatory system, something Scripture doesn’t cover much. But we would reject the textbook’s naturalistic claims, since they directly contradict the biblical worldview. The biology textbook has much to offer, but it’s limited by the framework of God’s word. 

Never forget the damage done when the church mishandled intellectual developments such as Enlightenment rationalism and postmodernism. At different points, some thought integrating these popular ideas with the Bible would make the church relevant and winsome. The results were catastrophic! Core doctrines eroded. Entire denominations drifted into apostasy. God has taught the church this lesson many times: Analyze all ideas through the lens of Scripture. We can learn from secular takes on current events. As we do, we should resist the temptation to let any secular platform sit in judgment above the word of God. 

  • With biblical truth at the center, Christians on the right and left stand together on fertile common ground, even if they endorse opposing political, economic or sociological ideas. The most important element in any debate on social issues is the biblical metanarrative: Human history is the drama of God’s gracious pursuit of rebellious sinners ultimately through the life, death, resurrection and return of Jesus Christ. Keeping this in the crosshairs is key to productive dialog, unity, action and healing. 

2: Specific Issues

Once we center the Bible in these debates, we’re confronted with a stickier problem: What does the Bible say specifically about race, equality, poverty and reconciliation? Several foundational areas provide a starting point: the nature of man; the enemy and his tactics; and God’s heart for the poor, marginalized and oppressed. 

The nature of man

The Bible says volumes about us. The field of biblical anthropology is the study of what human beings are, why they do what they do and what’s needed to help them. It answers similar questions to secular anthropology but from a spiritual perspective. Below are some relevant points: 

  • All people are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). This is, hands down, the most powerful foundation for believing all people should be treated equally. Take a second to appreciate this magnitude: The Bible’s opening chapter asserts that God stamped his own likeness on each human being. He gives them undeniable dignity and value, enlists them as special representatives and gives them sophisticated qualities. Also, God imbues people with a non-material, eternal soul that distinguishes them categorically from other earthly things. This is why God calls us to love and treat people equally, despite external or material differences. 

Proclaiming universal human rights is one thing; having a foundation to back up the claims is another. An impassioned atheist lacks an ultimate, objective footing outside his own opinion. Many progressive activists assume human equality without explaining why, and some groups pursuing common goals disagree on what equality even is.

  • According to Scripture, there’s one race: the human race. Regardless of external differences, all people bear God’s image; spiritual and biological characteristics unite them as one species. Unfortunately, countless attempts throughout history have been made to classify whites as a superior race or to separate mankind into many races. The Bible was often twisted to support white supremacy, yet God’s word is clear: Humans comprise one race, not many. 

That said, let’s consider two points. 

First, ethnicity is well-taught in Scripture. As early as Genesis 4:19, people groups with unique characteristics emerge. By Genesis 10, they blossom into a table of nations, spreading geographically and adopting specific behaviors. God celebrates this diversity. Human beings are equal before God, though not monolithic. We should recognize differences — supporting some, critiquing others — without creating racialized hierarchies. 

Second, people have created distinctions God never intended. Though not a biblical category, the concept of race has divided people viciously throughout history. People of color experience a world where race often stands as a significant, though not insurmountable, barrier. In America, race is a social construct created and reinforced by: historical evils such as chattel slavery and genocide; important legal decisions such as Scott v. Sanford; unfair or sensationalized depictions in mass media; and other cultural practices. Christians should be aware that society has been racialized to a significant degree.

  • The first humans rebelled against God, threw off his loving leadership and brought a curse on the world (Genesis 3). As a result, each person is born with a sin nature — a proclivity to rebel against God and seek for self. This is true regardless of skin color, class, ethnicity or gender. It holds true regardless of how one is privileged. No one is inherently good or a morally blank slate. Clearly all are influenced by a range of environmental, cultural and genetic factors. 

To have a sin nature means that mankind is desperately in need of saving. Ephesians 2:3 reinforces this idea: “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”  The divine image remains stamped on each person, but it’s marred and broken by sin. Our sin nature warps and fractures us, like seeing ourselves in a carnival mirror. For example, humans retain God-given ability to engage in creative work, but we often toil to accumulate personal possessions that obscure our need for God. 

  • The fall of mankind led to the complete brokenness of our world, a state known as total depravity. Man became alienated from God, other people, his environment and even himself. What unfolded was a bloody, painful, maddening history for all people, especially those in underprivileged positions. The world is not as wicked as possible, but no area of life is how it’s supposed be. The reason the world sees murder, hatred, bigotry and racism isn’t ultimately because the wrong people are in charge — it’s because people are in charge. 

Fallenness is the ultimate reason the world is the way it is. Analyzing problems solely through a lens of race, gender, class, family structure, power dynamics or personal choice provides only part of the picture. We must remember that the Fall affects every area of humanity — bodies, minds, emotions, perspectives, relationships, intuition, affections. For example, emotions add richness to life; they also can cloud judgment and obscure truth. Even desires should be questioned, since sinful human beings might want what’s harmful and deny what’s good. 

The Fall taints every human institution. Because we’re sinful, what we create is vulnerable to corruption. Ecclesiastes 4:1 regretfully observes, “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed — and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors — and they have no comforter.” While governmental, legal and economic systems provide some good (Romans 13:1-7), they have been stained by sin and need reform.

The enemy and his tactics

The Fall intensifies when we realize God has an enemy, Satan. He attacks in many ways, selecting whatever tactics maximize damage to God’s rescue mission. Below are a few strategies to watch for when forming opinions, responding to critics or taking action.

  • Satan loves to slander God and his word. Have you ever wondered why the Bible is often viewed in current social justice debates as a tool of white, Western, male oppression? Sadly, the Bible has been wielded by cruel white Westerners to perpetrate unspeakable crimes. But don’t overlook Satan’s vehement rebranding effort: Many now view an ancient Near Eastern text written by poor, oppressed, non-Western Jews of color as a white supremacist training manual. The devil has slandered a text about God’s redeeming love into a punishing rulebook. Men and women have done unspeakable things in the name of Jesus. This is a brute fact of history. Yet Satan persuades people to believe these actions are basic Bible teachings rather than a counterfeit of them.
  • Satan wants people to hate and fight. Because people are social beings, he preys on relationships. The devil’s astute knowledge of human nature allows him to inflame tensions and broadcast the worst about others. Political polarization — intensified by racial tension and social unrest — only makes his job easier. At multiple points, the apostle Paul warns that disagreement and anger give Satan a foothold in relationships (2 Corinthians 2:10-11, Ephesians 4:25-27). When we feel inflamed at someone, beware that Satan is lurking.
  • Satan runs a powerful, global system of values. In America, perhaps his deadliest weapon is the kosmos, an interconnected system of values, priorities and goals designed to oppose God. Like the concept of fallenness, Satan’s kingdom encompasses every area of life outside the body of Christ (and, unfortunately, some inside it). The kosmos or world-system is one of the best-taught New Testament concepts. First John 4:4 states: “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world (kosmos) is under the control of the evil one.” Like the other apostles, James sharply contrasts the things of God and those of the world: “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world (kosmos) means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world (kosmos) becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4). God is active everywhere and ultimately in control. Even so, believers should never underestimate the scope of Satan’s control over the world’s growing spiritual darkness. 

The poor, marginalized and oppressed

God’s word is packed with verses that command care for the poor, marginalized and oppressed. It’s an emphasis, and verses pop from every corner of the Bible. 

  • God expresses his love for disadvantaged people in some of the most direct statements in Scripture. Consider the line in the sand drawn by Proverbs 17:5: “Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.” “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” God promises in Psalm 12:5. “I will protect them from those who malign them.” God stands with the oppressed, promising to help those who help and punish those who don’t, as evinced by Proverbs 28:27 and others like it: “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.” In a chilling passage, James warns rich, dishonest landowners, “Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty” (James 5:4-5). 
  • Categories of poor, marginalized and oppressed often bleed into one another. Scripture describes people with inadequate material resources, but also those deprived of freedom and justice. Some fall victim to crime or violence, others to generalized corruption. See, for example, Psalm 72:13-14: “He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.” The circumstances aren’t exactly clear, but two things are: People have been wronged, and God will help them.

Most of the time, Scripture seems less interested in teasing out why a person fell on hard times and more concerned with God’s deep care for him. That’s much different than current political discourse. Sometimes the Word details the back story or culprits; sometimes it doesn’t. Perhaps the majority of verses remain vague to address a complex world where many things lead to injustice, unfair treatment and inadequate resources. 

  • Scripture isn’t silent about why people experience poverty or oppression. Both individual responsibility and systemic corruption emerge as complicating factors. 

Sometimes people bring poverty on themselves. Proverbs 23:20-21 urges, “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.” Similarly, Proverbs warns against drinking, sleeping, eating too much or working too little (21:17, 20:13). 

How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest — and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:9-11)

A person whose drunkenness clothed him in rags needlessly put himself at risk. The New Testament also rebukes those who bring trouble on themselves. “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule,” Paul reminds in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’” 

Sometimes systemic factors are to blame for poverty and oppression. “An unplowed field produces food for the poor,” laments Proverbs 13:8, “but injustice sweeps it away.” This person wasn’t lazy; he was denied food by factors outside his control. The Bible indicts cultural, economic and governmental systems that skew the playing field. The wealthy corrupt the system (Proverbs 22:16, Ezekiel 16:29, Jeremiah 2:34). Bribes corrupt the system (Proverbs 17:23). The king is liable (Proverbs 29:4). The courts are liable (Proverbs 22:22). The marketplace is liable (Proverbs 11:1). In many cases, poverty becomes a black hole, squashing those under its own gravity: “The wealth of the rich is their fortified city, but poverty is the ruin of the poor” (Proverbs 10:15). Poverty also repels those who could help: “Wealth attracts many friends, but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them” (Proverbs 19:4). 

  • God calls his people to help the poor. “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute,” commands Proverbs 31:8. “Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” James 1:27 states clearly: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” 

3: The Role of the Church

God has a plan for each individual to positively influence the world (Ephesians 2:10), so it’s impossible to prescribe what each person should do to address injustice. Yet God lays out several blanket propositions.

  • Scores of verses describe the mission of the body of Christ. In the Great Commission, Jesus commands, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20). The goal is to share God’s grace and wisdom with the world. Also consider 2 Corinthians 5:17-20: 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 

The idea of reconciliation means to repair a relationship by removing barriers that kept people apart. The good news is that Jesus has paid for sin, allowing us to re-forge the loving bond with our creator that he always wanted us to enjoy. Through relationship with Jesus, people transform into something entirely new — initial installments of God’s cosmic renovation plan — then get a chance to bring this news of healing to others. 

Believing churches and organizations across the globe operate countless ministries to engage the world for Jesus. Preaching the gospel and making disciples must be the primary goals. Disaster relief, prison ministry or health education — all must assist the goal of spiritual reconciliation. John makes it clear that victory over the world-system comes through our response to Jesus: “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:4-5).  

  • Reconciliation and transformation radiate out as believers unite into the body of Christ. The Fall tainted every aspect of humanity, but God’s work through his people lifts that curse. Alienation gives way to sacrificial love, hatred to mutual respect. In the body of Christ, all are equal regardless of skin color, ethnicity, class or gender. Galatians 3:28 insists, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 3:11 echoes it: “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” Fostering and celebrating the radical equality possible in the body of Christ is a primary for believers, especially in times of social unrest and pain.

Radical interpersonal reconciliation became a powerful witness in the early church. Women and slaves were embraced as equals and given positions of leadership (Romans 16, 1 Corinthians 16:19). Nowhere was this equal footing seen more clearly than in the unity between Jews and Gentiles. For centuries, Jews had been intensely persecuted and colonized by successive Gentile groups including Greeks and Romans. Jews looked so condescendingly toward Gentiles that many undertook ritual cleansings to wash the spiritual filth they believed came from being in their presence. In Christ, those barriers were smashed. Paul marveled that Jew-Gentile unity was part of a mysterious plan that only almighty God could execute. He reflects in Ephesians 2:14-18:

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

The unity and peace the world wants can be accomplished only through the Holy Spirit. But this spiritual reality must be maintained through sacrificial love in the context of close-knit Christian community. Later in Ephesians, Paul urges readers, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3). Other passages warn Christians about the dangers of malice, slander, division, favoritism and other social ills that can plague the church and ruin its witness (Colossians 3:12-14; James 2:1-4). Believers should view unity and equality in the church as a golden opportunity to attract people who’ve been hurt, abandoned or oppressed.

  • Preaching the gospel and making disciples are the church’s primary goals — yet God repeatedly calls people to meet material needs as they engage a suffering world. In Matthew 25, Jesus explains that giving food, drink, clothing or care to someone in need is like giving it directly to him. No need to find secret meaning in the account: In God’s eyes, giving food to a starving family is a really good thing. In 1 John 3:17, John asks a tough question: “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” Paul was a dedicated church-planter and disciplemaker, yet he spent significant time collecting money for people hit by famine in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:1-4). 

Meeting physical needs should never operate independently from spiritual goals. Ultimately, what good is it to help someone survive to old age well-nourished, able to vote, free from prejudice but unsaved? Combatting injustice and meetings physical needs should adorn our primary spiritual goals. For example, someone receives medical care through a relief mission, then hears the gospel from a nearby prayer team. Neighbors see believers serving the poor during a pandemic and question their unsavory views of Jesus. 

So how the church helps will look different than what secular experts suggest. Biblical love requires personal sacrifice, discernment, patience and productive discipline. Complex situations require complex solutions. Believers must harmonize Scripture’s call to help the disadvantaged with verses about how to properly exercise biblical love. In other words, we should never discriminate unrighteously who we help, but we should take great care about how we help. First Thessalonians 5:14 is crucial: “warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” Different people will be best served by different approaches. For instance, believers should interact with lazy people differently than they would interact with weak people. One needs a warning, the other assistance. Elsewhere believers are called to limit assistance to people who hold to certain standards of behavior (1 Timothy 5:3-16). 

4: The Biblical Perspective as a Guide 

The goal of this paper is to present select theological ideas to help you navigate important current events. The goal is not to tell you who to vote for, which political party you should support or even how you should come down on issues or reforms. I’ve purposely avoided interacting with source material outside of Scripture. My goal is not to tell you how to act, though I hold all believers should act in some way to impact the crucial issues affecting the world. My goal is not to tell you what to think, but help you how to think. As you do, consider these conclusions and applications. 

1.   The correct worldview is necessary to institute meaningful change. 

To love mankind, you need to understand mankind and love. Mistakes there lead to mistakes everywhere. For instance, if a group fundamentally ignores mankind’s spiritual nature, they’ll meet only physical needs, solving part of the problem. Only the biblical worldview provides the correct foundation for comprehending people, where they’re headed and what they need. That said, Christians should find ways to cooperate where possible with those who deny the biblical perspective. But they should realize that those partnerships eventually can break down when considering approaches, values and goals. 

2.   The biblical worldview maintains tensions that polarized political positions cannot.

Many across the political spectrum lament increasing polarization and extremism. They indict contentious, rigid positions while their own concretizes nearby. This squeezes many to one side or the other, forcing them to pick among all-or-nothing approaches. Yet Scripture often holds seemingly contradictory ideas in tension, urging believers to carefully sift complex issues. 

For example, let’s consider poverty from the bird’s-eye view, in broad strokes. Who’s ultimately responsible? Are people poor mostly because they’ve been hamstrung by social systems designed to maintain conditions for those already in power? Or are people poor mainly because they and their family members made unwise decisions and failed to work for available resources? I’ve heard friends argue passionately for both positions. Few stances left room for consideration of the other side.

From a biblical perspective, shouldn’t we avoid jumping fully to either side? 

On one hand, freewill and responsibility are deep-seated elements of personhood. In the United States, environment, family, skin color and class affect one’s position within social structures and their impact on life. But to say that someone is only a product of environmental or sociological factors is to make that person less than a person. To assign responsibility for someone’s situation solely to power dynamics or systemic injustice is to see that person as an environmentally-controlled machine, robbed of the dignity that comes from being crafted in the image of God. Fallenness is pervasive, and man’s sin nature is a narrative thread sewn through all of Scripture. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure,” laments Jeremiah 17:9. “Who can understand it?

On the other hand, all social systems are prone to corruption. People are fallen; so is what they create, as we discussed above. No system is as bad as it could be, but all lie at least partially under Satan’s control. Christians can debate the extent of, say, institutionalized racism. But should we ever expect a system to be completely free from wicked human tendencies to stereotype, divide, ostracize or oppress? That seems less like a political commitment and more like a theological one.

To deny any evil in a system ignores the overwhelming biblical data on human culture, commerce and government. The Proverbs were written during Israel’s golden age, when the Bible served as a constitution and the king served as God’s representative. Even then, everyone was warned that scales, weights, courts, rulers and kings could turn corrupt! Rather than acquit our systems, we should realistically assess how they’ve been corrupted and how to address the problems.

Christians who focus on personal responsibility and those who focus on systemic problems should admit that racism, poverty, oppression and injustice are too complex to be solved by assigning a sole source of blame. Nothing is explained by a pithy slogan. When we work from the biblical worldview, we have opportunity to avoid flat, extreme positions and engage difficult problems with nuance and tact, prayer and discernment. 

3.   Believers should start respectful conversations to listen, learn and share opinions. 

The Bible knows people well. So it assumes that people are going to talk (a lot) and not always agree with each other. So commands abound to listen wisely, speak politely and think deeply. James 1:19-20 urges: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” Proverbs talks extensively about communicating well. Consider Proverbs 18:2: “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.”

All of us face the temptation to enter an echo chamber that reinforces our opinions. Sometimes we feel the urge to block contradictory data that threaten to destabilize long-held, comfortable beliefs. At times, Satan pushes us to vilify or even cut off people who support causes, candidates or stances we don’t. In Christ, we can recognize these tendencies and correct them according to the word. We have an amazing opportunity to strengthen the unity that binds believers on opposite ends of the political spectrum. 

4.   Pursuing even the wisest political, governmental or social reforms is an insufficient goal. 

Believers in our church have engaged in many forms of activism. They’ve protested police brutality, campaigned for citywide reforms, attended prayer meetings for racial healing, started Bible studies for police officers, written position papers and organized food drives. Home churches that lean to the right and the left are hosting productive discussions of current events. Many believers globally are hopeful that continued awareness and activism will lead to substantial governmental reforms and greater resources for communities of color. Working toward a world where people are treated with proper dignity and respect is a worthwhile goal, and many governmental reforms would help. 

However, two notes of caution. 

First, believers should avoid an essentialist approach — thinking that someone is helping only if they do or say certain things. Going to a protest or organizing a voter drive might be worthwhile, but it would be wrong to condemn or scoff at those who don’t engage that way. God warns against judging people on non-moral areas (Romans 14:1-4), and those moves alienate people during an already tumultuous time. 

Second, believers should manage expectations and realize the limitations of reforming temporary, secular systems. Wise, proactive reforms can no doubt improve situations, but they won’t solve mankind’s most serious problems. Only the gospel can conquer sin, fallenness and death. Only in the body of Christ can people experience true reconciliation to their creator, their fellow human beings and themselves. Only at the inauguration of the new heavens and new Earth will Jesus wipe away every tear caused by injustice, hatred and death (Revelation 21:4).

5.   Improving the church as a unified, impassioned, multicultural refuge is massively important. 

Several Christians I’ve spoken with have expressed feeling torn between their personal ministry in the church and advocating for social causes by attending protests, studying electoral issues or reading important secular books. They’ve felt a need to focus on one area to avoid burnout. Those who opted to focus more on church leadership and discipleship lamented not being able to do more to pursue social justice. 

Now, each person should seek counsel from trusted believing friends and from God in prayer before making decisions on what to do. But never forget that leading home churches, discipling and teaching the word is crucial social justice work. Anything we do to improve the unity, diversity and strength of the local body of Christ will impact our proclamation of the gospel — the key to forging a world of love, compassion, grace, unity and forgiveness. To improve the church is to improve the world.