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Taku Haerenga Nui – My Great Journey

biblical justice
8 February 2024

Kia ora koutou, I still remember the moment vividly. It was July 2007. On a plane home to Cambodia. Page 12 of a book I had just bought called The Little Book of Biblical Justice. I had bought it because I was desperate to understand justice. Colleen and I had just spent two years witnessing the pain, trauma, and destruction that the world’s justice wrought on lives and communities.

Page 12. The start of a Great Journey. It turns out I was wrong about justice and righteousness.
Justice is not restricted to punishing wrongdoing. It’s where those who are broken, or oppressed, or excluded, or mistreated, or who have been the victim of abuse of power are lifted up, blessed,
healed, restored, given voice. And righteousness is the act of participating with Christ to bring that
justice about. 

I learned that the Christianity I had grown up with had helped me to comfortably exclude people,
judge those who were different to me (and therefore wrong), be eager to punish people for
wrongdoing, and be completely unaware of the privilege I enjoyed at the expense of others. I had to change. 

But I had doubts and fears! What if I was wrong? What if I was too lenient? What if I dishonoured or disobeyed God unintentionally? But I believe God spoke to me quite clearly saying, “I’d rather you be loving and wrong, than judgmental and right. I’d rather you pursue justice and fail than seek safety with success”.

So, I have been learning to look for those places where Jesus is active because he is usually with the marginalised in the most unlikely places, where the Spirit is working in and through people others might call unacceptable (or unnatural?). I have learned that unless I am intentionally looking, I often can’t see people that have been excluded, or the Spirit’s work in them, because I’ve put them outside the camp, or I’ve made my camp a place they don’t want to be.

What about you? Are there people you have unconsciously put outside your camp? Think of people that you would feel really uncomfortable around. It’s probably them. Who are they? And what risks is God calling you to take this year to seek them out, learn about them, and love them? Who knows, you might just meet Jesus there. Take a risk!

Mā te Atua koe e manaaki i runga i to haerenga – may God bless you on your journey.


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