Generous justice

Generous justice

This past Sunday was our church’s gift day, and this post is adapted from part of the sermon for that day.

Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. (Psalm 112:5)

Generosity is a theme that runs right through the Bible. God’s word testifies to the fact that God is a generous God, and as his people we are to be generous people as well.

Yet, another fact that runs through the Bible is that generosity should be free and not out of compulsion. God loves a generous giver, but that generosity is not a rule but a response. As we know God’s generosity, our generosity flows freely and with delight, blessing others from the blessings we have received.

This leads to another important idea: that generosity is not just about money. Psalm 112 is a psalm all about blessing. It describes for us what the person blessed by God looks like. In verse 5, the psalm tells us that a person blessed by God will be generous and free in their generosity. But it pairs that generosity in the second half of the verse with the theme of justice.

It is not difficult for us to see how justice is something sorely needed in our world today. Over the past weeks we have seen demonstrations across the globe connected with Black Lives Matter, and in response to the death of Georges Floyd. Indeed, not just in response to George Floyd’s death but to a trail of injustices reaching back over many years, decades and centuries.

As God calls us to a generous response to knowing him, so he calls us to be generous with justice. As Christians, followers of a generous and just saviour, we cannot stay silent on this issue of racial injustice, or to other matters of justice and injustice. Our response should be to stand for justice, peace and righteousness; we should respond with indignation and revulsion where some people are treated as ‘less’ than others. This is not an issue for some Christians, it is an issue for all Christians.

I am conscious that I write this as a white, middle-class, British male. I have a huge amount of privilege, some of which I recognise, much of which I do not, since it is the culture and atmosphere I have lived in my entire life. I am perhaps the least qualified to speak on matters of racial justice and injustice.

Yet, perhaps I am most in the position therefore to be generous in justice. I have been given a great deal in my life: a life free from discrimination and persecution. I have more, much more, than many people have. I need not fear being targeted for the colour of my skin. I need not worry about being stopped by the police. I assume that the law and justice will be working for me.

Since I have so much, I have so much to be generous with. The more privilege we have, the more we need to heed the call to highlight injustices and work for justice wherever possible. I cannot sit in my cozy bubble and think it is someone else’s issue. The more I have the more I have to share with others. Where I have a voice, I must speak, where I have a heart I must feel, where I have hands and feet I must act out of generous justice.