Theologian and public intellectual Dr. Cornel West once said, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Christians often imagine that if we had enough love, we would be able to solve the world’s problems. But love by itself has been insufficient in eradicating the manifold forms of injustice that continue to plague our world.
This three-session Bible study invites readers to consider how justice and love intersect. What does “just love” look like? How is this kind of love more than a sentimental or sanitized emotion, but is instead a love-in-action that seeks to dismantle the various systems of sin that damage God’s creation and harm God’s people?
Session 1: “Just Love” in the Family: What’s Love Got to do with it? (John 11:1-6, 17-37)
Session 1 focuses on what “just love” might look like in a family system. Using the story of Mary’s and Martha’s confrontations with Jesus in the aftermath of their brother Lazarus’ death, this session explores the role of anger in the pursuit of justice, including anger directed at God.
Session 2: “Just Love” in the Community: From Tree to We (Luke 19:1-10)
Session 2 views the story of Zacchaeus through the lens of restorative justice. What does it mean to make amends for the harm we have caused? How does Jesus invite us into healing relationships that reconnect us to the communities from which we have been alienated?
Session 3: “Just Love” in the Nation: Giving Birth to Justice (Exodus 1:8-22)
Session 3 challenges readers to examine what “just love” requires when injustice occurs at the highest levels of government. In the book of Exodus the midwives Shiphrah and Puah defy Pharaoh to save the lives of Hebrew babies. This session draws on understandings of formal and informal power and how we can use the power God has given us to effect change.