When many evangelicals hear the phrase “social justice,” it often raises concerns about politics, division, or shifting the focus away from personal responsibility. But before shunning the idea or politicizing it, we should look at this concept in the light of the words and actions of Jesus.

Jesus made it a point to reach out to those whom society excluded. He welcomed those rejected by others, whether they were lepers who lived outside the city walls or tax collectors whom people despised. Even when He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, He broke cultural and religious norms to ensure she felt seen, heard, and loved. Jesus showed us that nobody is beyond the reach of God’s love, regardless of their background or how society views them.

Jesus didn’t defend oppressors or fight for a world that turned a blind eye to outcasts, nor did he demand that the outcasts behave like everyone else. Instead he treated them justly, mercifully, and gracefully.

Lifting Up the Poor

Jesus had a heart for the poor and often reminded people of their value. He praised the widow who gave her two small coins in generosity and humility. He encouraged the rich to use their blessings to help others instead of storing them up selfishly. His message was clear: if we’re truly following Him, our generosity will reflect our love for others. Our concern for those in need isn’t a political issue—it’s part of what it means to live out Jesus’ love.

Often evangelicals are quick to lump “social justice” into the same category as “redistribution of wealth,” yet these same evangelicals follow a teacher who once told a wealthy man to sell all he owns to give to the poor. It’s fine that the concept of giving your wealth to the poor might outrage the well-off, but we cannot deny that it is the way of Jesus. He said it. It’s in the part with the red letters. You’re free to ignore it, you’re free to reject it, but you can’t deny it.

Standing Up for the Vulnerable

Throughout His ministry, Jesus stood against practices that exploited others and distorted God’s message. He didn’t tolerate the hypocrisy of religious leaders who used their power to oppress people. Instead, He called for mercy and fairness. He turned over the tables in the temple when merchants exploited worshipers, making it clear that no one should be taken advantage of in God’s name.

Jesus didn’t side with the established religious, social, or political order. In fact, he taught that the last would be first and the first would be last. Guess what, folks? This great switch where the poor, oppressed, outcasts are made first-class citizens — that’s social justice. The Kingdom of Heaven that Christ speaks of in the four Gospels, is ruled by this concept that evangelicals simply refuse to acknowledge.

Social justice is, to the Christian, the act of bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth. It is doing as Jesus did. To reject social justice is to reject Jesus.

Reconsidering Social Justice

Social justice isn’t just a buzzword or a political agenda. At its core, it’s about recognizing the value of every person and caring for them with compassion. It is seeing each person as valuable or as followers of Christ would put it — made in the image of God. If we are to follow Jesus, we need to love those who have been ignored, speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves, and share generously with those in need. It’s not about politics; it’s about letting Christ’s love shine through us.

Let’s reconsider how we view social justice and recognize that it’s part of living out the love and compassion of Jesus. We can make a difference in our communities by listening to those who are hurting, advocating for the vulnerable, and sharing with those in need. Social justice is more than a concept— it’s an opportunity to reflect Christ’s love in a world that desperately needs it.

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