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Justice in Real Life

My life gets crazy. I'm a mom. I have diapers to change, groceries to buy, and lunches to make. I'm a writer, a speaker and a church leader. I have things to write, talks to give, and issues to raise. Between keeping up with the kids, paying the bills, and following my calling, most days I'm happy if I can squeeze in the luxurious "me moment" of a shower.

But as a follower of Christ I also know that I am called to love my neighbor as Jesus did—by proclaiming good news to the poor, freedom for prisoners, sight for the blind, and to set the oppressed free (as mentioned in Luke 4). Seeking justice for others in these ways is at the heart of what it means to follow Christ. It's not just a call for some Christians; it's for all of us – including us busy leaders.

But it can be hard to figure out how I can be seeking justice for others in the midst of my chaotic life.

I read books by guys like Shane Claiborne and am inspired by how they have fully committed their lives to serving others. Yet even as I am inspired by them, I know that I can't move into a commune in the inner-city in order to devote my life to others. It's a great idea, just not very doable at this stage in life.

It's frustrating that doing justice in this world often seems to fall into these all or nothing extremes. Either one devotes every aspect of who they are to seeking justice or they opt out because they just can't see how they can fit it into their lives.

But seeking justice doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing. Many of the most serious justice issues in our world today are actually intimately connected to our everyday lives and therefore can be addressed through simple everyday actions as well. Even those diapers I change and those lunches I make are justice issues connecting me to people all over the world—my neighbors who Jesus has asked me to love. Even in my busy life, I can choose to serve others through these daily actions.

It took me awhile (and a decent amount of research) to realize these things, and even longer to start to implement them into my life. The whole process started for me with a deliberate choice to only buy fair trade coffee. I had read the stories that coffee farmers around the world were literally being cheated of their wages for the coffee they grew. They could no longer send their children to school, and were struggling to even put food on the table. Many of these farmers were being forced off their land simply because the price they were being paid for their work no longer allowed them to even survive. Fair trade companies though choose to respect the dignity of the coffee farmers. By purchasing fair trade coffee I know that the farmers were paid a decent wage for their work, allowed to have a say in how the coffee is grown, and were not abused or threatened as they worked. Sure, it costs me a little more to buy this coffee, but I'm fine paying the full cost of my coffee instead of cheating the farmers of their wages so I can have cheap coffee. My morning cup of coffee is a justice issue.

December23, 2009 at 7:03 AM

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