One of the most basic ways we love ourselves is by believing that we deserve fair treatment and acting on this belief. When someone treats us unfairly, we attempt to stop it. This is certainly one of the ways we love ourselves. Part of what it means to be created in the image of God is that we are entitled to be treated with dignity.
With that in mind, we recognize that this commandment is one of reciprocity – it reaches beyond ourselves and commands us to want the same for others. When we see our neighbor treated unjustly, how are we to respond? If we would not accept unfair treatment for ourselves, we should also not accept unfair treatment of others.
The Bible provides many examples of people protesting injustice in their communities. Nehemiah confronts money lenders for gouging the people; Moses confronts Pharaoh for enslaving the Hebrews; Jeremiah shames the King for using his power and influence for personal gain; Jesus confronts the religious leaders who take advantage of the faithful. The list could go on. These are all courageous examples of living out the Great Commandment.
Daily, we see in our communities:
- Families declaring bankruptcy due to the increased costs of healthcare
- Children graduating from public school without the basic ability to read or write
- Workers unable to provide the basics for their families despite putting in an honest week’s work
- Youth being recruited into violence and substance abuse
- People with mental illness being punished instead of helped
Those involved with Justice Matters believe that people of faith must speak out and act out against these injustices. We have come together around the shared commandment to treat our neighbors as we wish to be treated.