When Nehemiah learns of the people's plight, he is angry and considers what to do. He can choose to do mercy ministry by opening a food pantry or credit counseling program. Or he can choose to do justice by changing the lending system. Scripture tells us he chooses the latter. But even though he possesses status as the Cup Bearer to the King of Persia, Nehemiah doesn't have enough power to challenge the system alone. So he organizes a “great assembly” of people and brings forth the money lenders to be held accountable. During this assembly, the money lenders agree to restore everything they have taken from the people, and then they follow through on their promises.
This is a basic introduction to the imperative to do justice, the distinction between justice and mercy, and the strength that comes from organized people.
Patterned after this Biblical story, Justice Matters will listen to people's stories and concerns; research solutions that will have a system-wide impact and improve the lives of many; bring specific proposals to the appropriate decision-makers during a "great assembly" of people, and; monitor progress to ensure positive impact. By following this Biblical example of organizing people around mutual interests, our hope is to shift the city of Lawrence toward a city of God where justice flows down like a mighty river.