The world’s needs are staggering and even the most passion-driven missions and good intentions can falter. Justice requires passion and perseverance.
International Justice Mission’s Bethany Hoang offers a biblical theology of justice and encourages us to find our hope and perseverance in Christ—no matter the darkness in our world today.
Although the word’s injustices are hard to comprehend, Bethany says that more and more people are starting to paying attention.
“You may have seen that over the last decade there’s been a significant increase in our society, particularly here in the United States, of people being more attuned to justice issues like human trafficking and slavery.”
“I would say a large majority of people in our country didn’t know that slavery still existed in our world about 15 years ago, but as the media started to pay more attention to it and then especially as churches and church leaders started paying more attention to it we’ve seen this big swell in the last decade. People want to know what to do.”
“But it’s more than just a good cause; it’s more than just a good idea…it comes from the heart of God and it comes from the scriptures.”
God cares about justice and He calls us to put what is wrong, back to what is right.
Although many people are passionate about getting involved in a particular injustice issue, they often times don’t have the perseverance to back it up. Bethany explains the essence of ‘passionate activism,’
“Sometimes you’ll hear this term slacktivism kind of thrown around and I have a little bit of an ambivalence; I don’t think it’s a fully negative term because it refers to social media activism and liking a cause on Facebook or wearing a T-shirt or putting on a bracelet.”
“In one sense it’s a step forward. So if anyone takes any step to show that they care about issues of deep human need in the world I want to honor that step, but at the same time, sometimes it ends there.”
Passion only lasts for a short time on its own. Bethany explains this further using a ‘firecracker’ analogy,
“Often there’s this amazing passion that comes; especially for issues like sex trafficking, slavery and other forms of horrific violence. When people find out they’re happening when they see an actual name and face of someone who’s being affected, there’s this great passion that lights up.”
“It can often be like a firecracker; it bursts and it’s beautiful. It is this great passion, ‘I just want to do something,’ but before you know it, it’s gone and it’s faded because the work is hard.”
Where our passion meets perseverance, then justice can be carried out through the power of Jesus Christ.
“Part of the long term ability to pursue justice for people who are really in need is to know that there is joy in that journey when we do it with Jesus.
“It’s not just us having good intentions and reacting to needs that will have us burning out really quickly, but if we follow Jesus into the places where he’s going sometimes it’ll be a lot more daunting than we ever thought we were signing up for, but we’ll find a joy that we weren’t expecting and that gives perseverance and hope.”