When we “choose justice” we are in essence choosing the most basic of Christian actions: to love.
If a loved one is suffering, we will do whatever we can to help them. And if that loved on will only suffer again because of an injustice they face, we will do whatever we can to remove that injustice.
World Vision’s work with children is constantly evolving. We’ve moved from a “charity” model of providing handouts to individuals, to a community empowerment model of helping entire communities get on a sustainable path to development. In this journey, advocacy has become an integral part of how we help children reach life in all its fullness. See Advocacy in World Vision’s Work.
Justice and Advocacy in the Bible
Depending on who is counting, there are between 2.500 and 3,000 Biblical references to the poor and God’s response to injustice in the Bible. One such verse is Proverbs 31:8,9:
“Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!”The Message
While we like the emphatic call of God to stand up and speak out for the poor, the reality of advocacy today we try not to “speak for” others. Rather, we use our voices, our influence, to amplify the voices of those not being heard, so that their very pressing needs are given consideration.
Find other selected scripture references here.
Justice and Advocacy in Church History
The Church has been an advocate for justice throughout its history. Jesus advocated for children, women, lepers and outsiders of all types. The early Church cared for the poor in such a way that their compassion and action became a mark of distinction.
Christians led the fight to abolish slavery in Europe and North America in the late 1700s and 1800s. Churches were a strong voice calling for the end of apartheid in South Africa in the sixties, seventies and eighties. And at the turn of the century, churches were a key force in the Jubilee campaign to cancel debts of the poorest countries—leading to changes that have resulted in millions of children in school and receiving health care.
Read how advocacy is an integral part of our ministry in communities overseas and here in Canada.
Download or scroll through this advocacy primer for churches in Canada. We’ve gathered tips and tools to introduce churches to this important area of ministry.