Tag Archives: justice

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Just and True

Justice means we give others what is due them. Disagreement need not skew a reasonable evaluation of others; justice demands we strive for objectivity so we can honor what is honorable in our fellow humanity.

Justice has stumbled in the streets, as mobs morph from demanding fair treatment of African Americans to destroying honorable signposts of our history.

On this Feast Day of St. Junipero Serra—the Apostle of California—I just witnessed his statue being lassoed, toppled, and smashed by protesters in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Not only have the bullied become the bullies, they now seek to edit American history by destroying any symbol that disturbs them.

We must insist on justice. Irrational and ignorant vandalism have no place in a just culture. Justice demands we give our forefathers their due, whether we agree with their legacy or not.

The mob ruled Franciscan Serra a bigot for bringing Christianity to California in the mid-18th century. He trekked on foot from Mexico City to San Francisco and established missions along the way to serve the native peoples. (Many of the missions are still active churches where I have fasted and prayed for California.) Over 6000 persons were baptized into the Church through his efforts. Did he enslave native Americans of the West Coast, as the mob insists?

Absolutely not. Though no-one today would advocate for the two-pronged advance of evangelization and Spanish political conquest, Serra disdained the latter. Backbreaking travel and labor—supported by an ulcerated leg—were eclipsed by his biggest conflict, the interference by the Spanish military state on his efforts to convert and disciple native peoples.

Various biographies clarify: the sword that pierced Serra’s heart was military cruelty of his sheep. Like a good shepherd, he constantly fought Spanish officials for freedom from arbitrary and cruel acts upon his people. He succeeded at ensuring that the presidios, or military barracks, were stationed as far from the missions as possible.

To be sure, he labored in a flawed system that lanced him more deeply than any cross-cultural challenge. Pierced, he loved his people well, pouring out the heart of Jesus for California. Perhaps many oppose him because they at core oppose the Gospel. But one cannot dispute his heroic sacrifice, and how his self-giving laid the basis for California’s thriving, diverse Christian culture.

To deface him is to act as unjustly as the arbitrary violence imposed on native Californians by the Spanish military in Serra’s day.

Justice 1: Shameless

‘Mercy without justice is the mother of disintegration.’ Thomas Aquinas

Conviction for sexual sin is dull today. We no longer feel bad for acting badly. Misuses of mercy may well enable the problem. When we placate the disintegrated who sow seeds of disorder everywhere, are we disintegrating others? Where is justice for persons caught in the crossfire of another’s sin?

Last week, we as a staff prayed for a godly wife whose husband abruptly left her and is fast-tracking a divorce so he can proceed with his sexy new friendship. Our small group surrounded a mother whose once beautiful daughter now postures as a macho dude and refuses proximity with her grieving mom. I talked with a colleague about how to best respond to a once chaste friend who now works for a ‘gay’ rights group and who slanders his former recovery/ministry mates as abusive and greedy ‘conversion’ therapists. All three cases involve persons who refuse the truth, cannot change the truth, and vent their conflict on loved ones who remind them of the truth.

Justice is all about the truth. As Pieper says about this foundational virtue, ‘What is right comes before justice; justice is second.’ The truth—we seek to give others their due. In this we serve justice. It is right and fair to seek to live undivided lives. However weak we may be, tempted by myriad desires, we can desire one true thing: to love others in a way that honors our commitment to what is best for all. In the sexual realm that involves keeping the commitment of love we sealed with our bodies (aka marriage), keeping same-gender friends chaste, and making every effort to honor the gender of our birth.

It is fair to name efforts to ‘expand’ human liberty by forsaking these truths as unjust. One person’s freedom becomes a loved one’s nightmare. Before we fawn over the unrepentant prodigal, we must first recognize that his or her sin has set in motion a series of sins that has victimized others. How are the forsaken spouse and grieving parent and helpless friend doing? We must first uphold what is just by caring for the injured.

Secondly, the injustice of today’s new sexual liberties wreaks havoc on children who grow up in an amoral, chaotic world. Yesterday, everyone had a ‘gay’ niece. Today, everyone has a ‘trans’ nephew. Is it because we underestimated the number of gender disoriented folks? No. We just popularized them, made it crazy cool to ‘gender bend’ and barely formed kids begin to entertain the possibilities. Every ‘gay marriage’, every ‘trans’ testimony, every divorce pollutes the air and the water our kids depend on and makes them that much more susceptible to immorality. That is the nature of injustice. Founded on lies, it spreads its deception naturally, deeply. Pray mercy on our children. We have sown to a violent wind and we now reap destruction.

‘For rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.’ (1S 15:23)

Mercy 10: Merciful Justice

‘The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.’ (PS 103: 6)

Merciful Justice by HeansterA strange notion of justice is at work today. Instead of true justice: fighting for the transformation of persons dealing with all manner of sexual brokenness, we fight for their right to be ‘bisexual’ or ‘gay’ or ‘transgender.’

We have lost an understanding of human nature, founded in the Creator. So we embrace anyone’s sexual inclination as identity and destiny. That involves the false pairing of gender brokenness with ethnicity and women’s rights. Bad logic. Since when is the immutable and God-given fact of being born a particular gender or skin color the same as a moral disorder?

I just spent a day with an amazing group of Christians in Pasadena California who pray continuously for the restoration of persons. They are still reeling from the Supreme Court striking down Prop. 8; now that marriage has been redefined in their ‘golden state,’ they are witnessing an extraordinary push toward ‘transgender’ freedom. Increasing numbers of persons, some high profile, are ‘coming out’ to surgically and hormonally obtain the gender of their choice.

The freedom to be a slave to self-mutilation? This is not justice rooted in God’s heart. Rather, as servants of God’s Kingdom, we extend the reign of His justice by fighting for the transformation of persons afflicted by gender brokenness.

Among this group in California was an amazing young man who cried out to Jesus after his surgery to become a woman. (Gender reassignment never restores the fractured soul.) Through a spiritual odyssey that has involved many amazing Christian care-givers, he has been reconciled to his true gender (he was born male) and shines in his church as a prophetic witness of the God who saves. Many in the group were men and women, dear friends, who have long since come out of ‘gay’ identification and are bright lights in their faith communities.

Still others are Christians who simply know that they are vulnerable to the false freedoms rife in today’s culture. Committed to Jesus and His Church, they need Christians who will fight for them. Let us forego false justice that confirms persons in their disorders. We serve real justice by extending mercy: the transforming power of Jesus and His community.

Prayer Points:

    • Desert Stream/Living Waters: Upper Midwest: Milwaukee, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Jean Mersberger, Regional Coordinator. Please pray new groups will start throughout the upper Midwest.
    • Restored Hope Network: Mastering Life Ministries, Nashville, TN. David Foster, Director. Specialty: video/TV production resources as Pure Passion TV, documenting accounts of God’s healing and transformation.
      Christian Coalition for Reconciliation, Houston, TX. Michael Newman, Director. Specialty: one-on-one pastoral counseling and international, multi-lingual counseling via Skype.
    • Courage: Pray that those contemplating repentance would experience God’s abundant grace in order to decisively surrender their sexuality to Him.
  • Ministries of Pastoral Care: Please pray for the translators, publishers and distributors of Leanne Payne’s books, that Jesus Christ would be their protection, provider and advocate.

Jesus: The Justice that Transforms

‘He will not shout or cry out, or raise His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice.’ (IS. 42: 2, 3)

‘Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.’ (PS 37: 5, 6)

Justice: The Truth That Transforms Sun Image by Mike BehnkenWho is like our God? On behalf of all who contend with same-sex attraction and a gay-affirming world (‘gay marriage’, the collapse of Exodus, the strangely silent church), Jesus shines like the sun. He is the Father’s justice for all who know the afflicting power of sexual brokenness and who turn to Jesus as their source of light and life. He fulfills the Psalmist’s declaration: ‘He works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.’ (PS 105:6)

To impart His justice to us, Jesus asks two things. First, persons with same-sex attraction must recognize they are oppressed, not only by the attraction itself but also by a deceiving, idolatrous world that holds out false consolation—‘be who you are, celebrate your homosexuality!’ The Christian can and should refuse that solution, as it desecrates the Father’s will for our humanity.

Secondly, in light of the depth and power of same-sex attraction, we can and must surrender wholly to Jesus. That is nothing less than the call to every Christian. Those of us blessed with the burden of same-gender attraction have the unique privilege of entrusting to Him a whole network of friends, feelings, self-perceptions, and motives. Sounds like the basis of a profound conversion to me!

Jesus wants everything. We may, in the spirit of the rich young ruler, count our homosexuality a ‘gay right’ (Matt. 19: 16-26). Pity those who claim to love Jesus but withhold from Him their sexuality. In order to take up all He has for us and wants to give through us, we must let go of our rights. Our only boast becomes His cross, which we share in our ongoing surrender to Him. We die to worldly solutions and live only for Him and the new creation we become when He becomes our hearts’ desire.

But what genuine riches await those who surrender all to Him! He serves justice by reconciling us to who we really are—men and women called to reveal Him in the way we love others purely, seeking only the other’s best. That excludes any romancing of our own gender, as well as any using of the opposite gender to prove we are ‘normal.’ (Both reduce the true selves of others.) Rather, we seek to build others up in Christ, loving them according to His image of their humanity, not the one that seems right to us.

We become lovers after His heart; our joy is full because our giving to others is free from the entrapment of idolatry. How can we bow down to a mere creature? He has become our heart’s desire.

In that process, Jesus is faithful to use same-gender desires to take us deeper in His healing justice. He reveals wounds and deprivations that inspired our attractions; He shines His light on the self-defenses we created to protect us from further harm. We can let go of these strongholds because He has become our cornerstone, the very foundation of our humanity. As its Creator and Redeemer, we are in good hands!

Jesus is the Father’s justice for all who follow Him amid same-gender attraction. The systems of the world fail us here, so we must look keenly, and surrender utterly, to Him alone. He will never fail us. Might this be His shining hour as the Shepherd of afflicted sheep? He will not be moved. Justice will be served.

‘As a shepherd looks after his scattered sheep when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness…I Myself will tend My sheep and have them lie down,’ declares the Sovereign Lord. ‘I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.’(Ez. 34: 12, 15, 16)


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