Tony had lived in his neighborhood for ten years. He tried to take an active role in helping the neighborhood be a safe and welcoming place. One afternoon while resting on his front porch, Tony’s neighbor Kodjo stopped by to chat. Kodjo was planning to rent a local storefront to sell furniture and antiques. However, Kodjo was a little uncomfortable with the contract that he had been asked to sign as a part of the lease agreement. English wasn’t Kodjo’s first language, so some of the contract wording was difficult to understand. Tony agreed to take a look at the lease paperwork. After reviewing Kodjo’s paperwork, Tony discovered that several of the rules in the lease were unusual and seemed to favor the landlord. He suspected that the landlord was trying to take advantage of Kodjo. Tony worked with Kodjo to renegotiate the lease so that the terms were reasonable. The following week, Kodjo happily reported that the landlord had agreed to the new terms. He thanked Tony with a big hug. “Thanks for looking out! You’re a true friend!”
As believers we are called to stand up for justice and look out for the rights of those who are oppressed
Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes; That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane my holy name: And they lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge by every altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god. (Amos 2:6-8)
The innocent and the poor are being abused in Israel. Though slavery is a customary practice, Amos speaks to the rigged and unjust practice of driving debtors to slavery for the sole purpose of benefiting the powerful and wealthy. Rather than being merciful and allowing them more time to repay, people are driven into slavery. For as little as the cost of a pair of sandals, the poor and innocent are dealt with harshly. Additionally the people are participating in ritual prostitution. Amos records that “a man and his father will go in unto the same maid” which is the result of religious prostitution and idol worship. Their lack of total allegiance to the one true God is connected to their blatant disregard for the weak and vulnerable.
Israel’s rejection of God’s Law has resulted in horrible abuses against its people. The majority of these involve the powerful using the system to benefit themselves and push down the needy and less powerful.
As a nation and as the church, when it comes to social injustice, we often point the finger at others. Prayerfully make a list of the ways our nation and the church contribute to social injustice. Commit to practicing justice in these areas of life as an individual.
For more relevant Biblical content like this check out our Precepts For Living Commentary.