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Bible studies

Passion for justice

We all have a responsibility to stand up against injustice

Written by Philip Powell 2022

Murchison Falls - a waterfall between Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert on the Victoria Nile in Uganda

Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never‑failing stream! (Amos 5:24). Photo: Tearfund

A mixed group of smartly-dressed men and woman in Uganda sitting on the ground outside, partly under the shade of a tree

From: Community-led advocacy – Footsteps 118

Tools and ideas that communities can use to challenge injustice and change difficult situations

In theory, the laws and constitution of a country are meant to provide the basis of a just society. However, in practice, good laws on paper are not always implemented or enforced. 

This may be for all kinds of reasons. For example:

  • people may be unaware of the laws
  • law enforcement may be weak or corrupt
  • people may not know how to stand up for their rights, or they may be afraid to do so.

Read Amos 5:1–24

We read in the book of Amos about the injustice being experienced by many people at that time. The rights of people living in poverty were not respected (verse 11), bribery was common (verse 12) and those who stood up for justice and truth were despised (verse 10). 

In verses 21 to 23 God condemns the religious festivals and gatherings, saying that they are ‘a stench’ to him. Why is that? What does verse 24 say about the type of worship that God finds pleasing? See also Isaiah 58:1–14 and Luke 11:37–46.

The Bible makes it clear that Christians should share God’s passion for justice. This does not simply mean trying to live good lives. We should also seek to change what is wrong in our society. This may be through prayer, practical caring or speaking out against injustice. Often it will be a combination of all of these. 

God wants righteousness and justice to flow like the water in a fast-flowing river, and he wants to use his church to bring this about (Amos 5:24).

Discussion questions

What examples can you think of in your society where the law is good but not carried out? What are the consequences of this?

What action could you take to help enforce good laws and stand up for people who are experiencing injustice? 

Written by

Written by  Philip Powell

Philip Powell is a Theology and Network Engagement Manager at Tearfund.

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