Justice Conference: Relationship

I’m posting from the Justice Conference in Portland today.  If you’d like to follow other insights from our team, please click here.

The second word of the day at the Justice Conference was relationship. Everything that we do must be ordered out of a right relationship with God, others and self.

Too often our motivation to do right stems from a desire to feel right. I remember when Anne had a severe headache. Being the loving husband that I am, I offered to get her some Tylenol. Problem. Solution. My husband of the year award was secured for another year, I thought.

I thought wrong.

My doctoral candidate wife responded to my offer of instant assistance with the prompt reply, “Oh, why didn’t I think of that? You’re so smart!”

Huh? I was reminded again of the value of relationship. My well-intended offer of relief would have been better received had it come with a simple five-minute conversation prior to the generous offer of retrieving the pain reliever. What she wanted was time with me, not a handout from me.

At times,  our compassion efforts are the equivalent of an air drop. We fly by and deposit some form of relief. Usually from a fair distance. We don’t really want to get our hands dirty. We don’t really want to know the people we are “helping.” Often, the only folks we are trying to aid is ourselves and our need for significance.

True justice and righteousness is born out of a desire to live right with our Creator and His creation. To be a genuine representation of being image bearers. To reflect His face to the defenseless, sojourner and needy among us. Such efforts cannot be separated from the original design of the One whose Image we are created in. When we are out of alignment with Him, our efforts usually are as well.

Righteousness is born out of right relationship.

With God, others, self and creation. All other efforts lead to self-righteousness and severed relationship. Therefore, I renew myself to seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness.

To live as one made to live like the One who made me. To live as an ambassador of the King. To reflect Him in all my relationships.