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By Board of Bishops

March 17, 2021
Love-Driven Justice 

References from Scripture, the Book of Discipline, and L+L Articles  

The recipients of the grace and mercy found in Jesus’ mission. 

  • The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18–19 (emphasis added)) 

God’s heart for just action revealed in His Word. 

  • As to Foreigners: When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:33–34) 
  • As to the Weak, Fatherless, Poor, Oppressed: Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. (Psalm 82:3) 
  • As to Our Obligation to Fairness and Equitable Treatment of Others: Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:9) 
  • As to Defending the Oppressed: Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17) 
  • As to Our Commitment to Be Merciful and Compassionate: This is what the Lord Almighty said: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.” (Zechariah 7:9–10) 
  • As to Our Call to Mirror God’s Holiness, Righteousness and Justice: He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8) 
  • As to Religion That Is Acceptable to the Father: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27) 

Our pledge to active concern: 3221 and 3222 of the 2019 Book of Discipline  (See the 2019 Book of Discipline for the entire content of these paragraphs) 

Dignity and Worth of Persons (Introduction to ⁋3221) 

We are committed to the dignity and worth of all humans, including the unborn, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, color, socio-economic status, disability, or any other distinctions (Acts 10:34-35) and will respect them as persons made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) and redeemed by Christ’s death and resurrection. 

The Old Testament law commands such respect (Deuteronomy 5:11-21). Jesus summarized this law as love for God and neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40). He ministered to all without distinction and His death on the cross was for all (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). 

We are therefore pledged to active concern whenever human beings are demeaned, abused, depersonalized, enslaved or subjected to demonic forces in the world, whether by individuals or institutions (Galatians 3:28; Mark 2:27; 1 Timothy 1:8-10). We are committed to give meaning and significance to every person by God’s help. Remembering our tendency to be prejudicial, as Christians we must grow in awareness of the rights and needs of others. 

Sanctity of Life (Introduction to ⁋3222)

God is sovereign: the world and all that is in it belongs to God. Though God’s eternal purposes may never be thwarted by human action we are still free and responsible to make God consistent choices in matters of life and death. Christians live in the reality that human beings are created for an eternal purpose. As we attend to human suffering, we acknowledge that the ability of medical technology to end human suffering is finite. Therefore, we accept our responsibility to use this technology with wisdom and compassion; honoring God, who is ultimately supreme. 

Read  Love-Driven Justice by Bishop Matt Whitehead

Discipleship Materials: Engage small group conversation using this four-part small group series based on Bishop Matt’s L+L Article. They contain additional Scripture references and application.