If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26
Lately I’ve been reflecting on the challenges that doing justice presents to Christians. On the one hand we are charged to do justice, and on the other hand we are cautioned to not judge. How are we supposed to do justice without judging? I think it becomes clear once we think about what it means to do justice. To do justice doesn’t mean to make judgment calls – and then alienate people with them. To do justice means to make things right. When we see that something is wrong, we have to make it right.
But we have to use wisdom. Think about how many people you’ve met who are very angry at the church. I’m talking about the ones who are angry at the church because they’ve been wounded by the church. They aren’t angry because they never went to church, and they aren’t angry because they hate God. They are angry because they’ve been wounded by people who claim to love God, and yet they judge. They’re angry because of Christians who pushed them away from God. Judgments came, and they came without wisdom.
I wish I could step in, and reassure them that that’s not who I am. That’s not who Jesus is. We need to ask God for wisdom before we open our mouths.
But I think there are a lot of times when Christians intend to do justice, and think that making a judgment call is the way to do it. They think they know the difference between right and wrong. Well, maybe they do. But it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t ask for wisdom. If I know a person who is in the wrong, I still need wisdom. If I don’t ask, then how will I know how God wants me to handle that person? If it’s up to me to tell someone that he is wrong, then I need wisdom so that I’ll know how to handle him and make sure he feels loved. If you need to create justice in a situation in someone’s life, then you need to ask for wisdom on how to do that. When you don’t, you might say something to make that person mad – so mad that they push you away.
We used to live in our flesh, but now we are Christians. Now we live by the Spirit. Our identity is in the Spirit of God. And it’s God’s Spirit who brings us wisdom. Always. All we have to do is ask in faith. It says in Romans that there are times when we don’t even know how to pray. We don’t know what to pray for. That’s okay, because the Spirit will intercede for us, “with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
Ask for wisdom, and believe.
See you Thursday.