On February 20th it is World Day of Social Justice. Social justice is both complex and yet simple, as at its core is the intent to advance fairness. Social justice looks at fairness among different people groups, such as different ethnicities, races, genders and ages. Social justice challenges the unfair ways that wealth, privileges, and opportunities are distributed. Social justice is in part about valuing ethnic, racial, gender, and age diversity.
The theme this year is, “Overcoming Barriers and Unleashing Opportunities for Social Justice.” This day has great application to us as Hillsong church, “being a healthy church changing lives through Christ.” One of the questions asked with the theme is what actions are needed by stakeholders to increase their investments in social justice. I suggest the following three actions for our global Hillsong community:
- An increase in our Biblical stakeholders
- An increase in our awareness of the needs
- An increase in us putting Micah 6:8 into action
Let’s start with the action of increasing our Biblical stakeholders. Those of you who have been part of Hillsong for many years know that acting on behalf of social justice is not new to Hillsong. However, unlike the world, we approach social justice with the Bible as our foundation. We view ourselves as Biblical stakeholders. We see people as God sees them, believing that every ethnicity, race, gender and age is valuable as a person created in the image of God. Our prayer is that you also see yourself as a Biblical stakeholder, and that through discipleship the amount of our stakeholders will increase.
The second action of increasing our awareness of the needs is easy to do with the advancement of technology. Within just a few minutes, you can become educated in the lack of social justice in 2023. The lack is sadly easily evident in almost every nation in the world, there being so many opportunities for us as Biblical stakeholders to change lives through Christ. Let me take just a few minutes of your time and increase your awareness of some of the needs by sharing five of our partnerships:
- A21 which exists to end modern day slavery. There are more people enslaved today than any other time in history. Human trafficking generates an average of 150 billion dollars per year. There are an estimated 40.3 million people enslaved right now. Slavery happens in every country. Human trafficking is hidden, fast-growing, and complex– generating billions each year through the exploitation of millions of people.
- Hillsong Foundation in partnership with World Vision is helping victims from the recent deadly earthquake in Turkey and Syria. The earthquake has left thousands of people homeless, placing many lives at risk, including already displaced children and families.
- Hillsong Africa Foundation which aims to build a thriving nation through equipping people to care for others, often in destitute circumstances, in communities across South Africa. Our diverse portfolio of programs enable people from all walks of life to engage in uplifting others.
- Vision Rescue which aims to help the 65 million people in India who live in slums as per the 2011 statistics. 47% of children in slums are estimated to be malnourished and many of them are uneducated and in high-risk situations. With a little love and care, Vision Rescue seeks to empower these individuals and bring dignity to entire communities.
- Compassion Child Sponsorship which helps the poorest of the poor, children living in extreme poverty around the world. Children in poverty are the most at risk of malnutrition, sickness and exploitation. There is an estimate of 356 million children living in poverty in the world.
Our awareness as Biblical stakeholders of the needs of social justice should move us to action, Micah 6:8 action. Are you familiar with Micah 6:8? Perhaps you used to sing it in church in your younger years. Perhaps you memorized it for Sunday School. Perhaps you have it tattooed on your arm. It is a verse that feels famous to my spirit. The third action connected to Micah 6:8 has the potential of drastically changing so many lives. In Micah 6:8 (NIRV) it says:
“The Lord has shown you what is good.
He has told you what He requires of you.
You must act with justice.
You must love to show mercy.
And you must be humble as you live in the sight of your God.”
God calls us to humbly act with justice and mercy. So many of both our neighbors down the street and our global neighbors are experiencing a variety of social injustices which we can do something about. We as Biblical stakeholders are called to live out Micah 6:8, God not only telling us to act with justice, but also tells us in the second greatest commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.
As Pastor Lucinda said last week when she spoke, “it is time that we roll our sleeves up and rise up and lead.” We lead as Biblical social justice stakeholders by giving of our resources and/or our time, realizing that both have been entrusted to us. Monthly sponsorship is for some easy to do and for others a felt sacrifice. Regardless, it is one example of something all of us can do. Be a Biblical social justice stakeholder by putting Micah 6:8 into action by becoming a monthly partner with any of the ministries listed above, A21, Hillsong Foundation, Hillsong Africa Foundation, Vision Rescue, Compassion Child Sponsorship with as little as one dollar a day.
Let me end with this last thought by sharing the following quote: “none of us can do everything, but we can all do something.” Imagine the unleashing of social justice opportunities all our “Micah 6:8 something” could provide!!
Maria Hansen-Quine, LASW, MSW, CSC
Hillsong Global Race Ethnicity Diversity and Inclusion Manager