Freedom, Righteousness, Justice
In the Old Testament, the “Promised Land” was a literal, physical place. The Promised Land was on the west side of the Jordan River, meaning that it was NOT part of the wilderness. God also promised this land would be full of peace and abundance, flowing with the proverbial “milk and honey.”
As Christians, we are not called by God to matriculate to a particular state, city, or country in order to find our own Promised Land. Rather, we are asked to bring God’s “Promised Land Ingredients” to the tables of the cities, states, or countries where God might plant us so that every corner of the globe might become part of the Kingdom of Promise.
Thus, the Promised Land became not just a geographical place, but any land where these three words are put into practice: Freedom, Righteousness, and Justice. I’ll offer very brief definitions here, but encourage you to listen to upcoming Sunday sermons with ears-to-hear for expanded treatment of three of God’s favorite words.
Freedom: The opportunity to live into one’s God given potential, possibility, and promise. Freedom is inherent to the dignity of the image-of-God that every human bears. Brilliantly, the Declaration of Independence of the United States recognizes that our basic freedoms come from God and pre-exist country or state.
Righteousness: Righteousness is so much more than blind obedience to the prevailing rules. Real righteousness is the ability to do the right thing, in the right way, at just the right time. The opposite of righteousness is sin. Sin always has a destructive effect. True righteousness always has a constructive, building-up effect.
Justice: Justice is an action word in the Bible. It's something that we are commanded to “do” in Micah 6:8. Justice creates environments where freedom and righteousness can thrive. We act unjustly when we take more than our God-given share at the expense of others. We act justly when we remove the barriers that hold any person back from fulfilling their God-given potential.
I recommend using these three words from God’s vocabulary whenever possible. Enhancing our personal conversations and public discourse with these deep, biblical concepts would be a huge contribution from people of faith. We need to be rescued from the falsehood that novel human ideas, political maneuvering, or the next election can save us or produce the change we long for. We need to get interested in and reacquainted with these pillars of the Promised Land: Freedom, Righteousness, and Justice.
I’m about to spend a week at a family reunion talking around the campfire about everything under the sun. I’m challenging myself to do this very thing in a graceful, constructive, winsome manner. Jesus managed to do this all the time. I’ll start by asking for his help!
May God’s best words and blessings hold you,