Four Essential Things Christians Can Do in Response to Social Injustice

by Pastor Kevin James

On May 25th we all watched in shock, as a white police officer used his knee as a lethal weapon, insisting on pressing the full force of his body on the neck of an unarmed restrained black man, until he died. In the aftermath of George Floyd's death, there has been mass protest and riots across our country in both major and smaller cities. There have not only been protest on the streets of America, but also in Brazil, Iran, New Zealand, London, Paris, Berlin, Syria, Italy, Ireland and Canada.

This reaction makes sense, because in moments like this, the human spirit yearns to respond. We long to do something in order to express the outrage and sorrow we are feeling in our hearts. And let's not forget about change. In moments like this, there is a stirring in our souls to use this flagrant injustice as a springboard to bring about real change, with the hope that such a thing would never happen again.

Yet in times like this we Christians are often paralyzed as to what we actually should do. We have a faith that rightly cautions us from simply doing what everyone else in the world may do. We know we are not supposed to conformed to the ways of this world, and yet we know that God's heart is to help and support those who are victimized because of hate, greed or any other type of wickedness or injustice. [Isaiah 58:6-8; Psalm 33:4-5; Luke 4:18-19]

As we take our cues from the Bible, here are four important things that every Christian should do in a moment when we witness flagrant social injustice like the hateful killing of George Floyd:

1. Every Christian Should Give Support

When Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan, he taught us that when someone has been victimized your first response is to help them, regardless of how different they may be from you. [Luke 10:30-37] Even before we rush to advocate for the victim, we must first run toward the victim to do anything we can to help. 

In the case of George Floyd, we want to remember that there is an actual family that has experienced the sudden, unjust and violent loss of a loved one. They need our comfort and care.  

Of course it is much easier to help and support someone if you personally know them. But even if we are not personally acquainted we can still support the family of George Floyd- and other victimized families- by praying for them, sending our encouragement to them and even sending resources through GoFundme accounts.

2. Every Christian Should Advocate

The verb advocate simply means to publicly speak or write in favor of someone one or some cause. Advocate also means to defend. Therefore if we speak in favor of something we are also speaking- in most cases- against something.  

Christians have a long history of speaking to those who are in power and challenging their immorality, unjust behavior or unfair systems. It goes all the way back to the prophets of the Old Testament. Even John the Baptist spoke against King Herod. Herod- a corrupt politician- had committed both adultery and incest by taking his brother's wife! John the Baptist became very public and bold in speaking out against Herod, so much that Herod had John thrown in prison and later beheaded. [Matthew 14:3-12]

As Christians, there are many ways to advocate. One way is to participate in peaceful public protests and marches. For some reason, many Christians are reluctant to protest against the unfair killing of black men, yet they are willing to protest against abortion and the unfair killing of babies. Think about it.

We also advocate when we post or make a public statement in support of the victim and against the injustice. Another method of advocating is to seek an audience or write a letter to your elected representatives. And let's not forget the importance of casting our votes every opportunity we get!

But for some of us the most important way to advocate is on a personal level, by deciding to intentionally build an authentic relationship with one person who's skin is a different color than our own skin. This is the true essence of being an advocate; where you not only protest for change, but you are the change! In advocating, you may not be able to change everybody, but surely you can change somebody. If nothing else, the process will help you change and become a better person.  

For most of us, we could begin this journey of building an intentional long-term relationship with someone of another race today! Most of us are already acquainted with someone of another race; someone who is part of our day-to-day life. This person may be a neighbor or co-worker or schoolmate or business associate or a parent at your child's school. You get the picture. If we're serious about healing the racial wounds of our country, each of us could help a lot by simply building a real friendship with someone who's skin is different from our own.

3. Every Christian Should Maintain a Daily Time Alone with God

Often when an event like the killing of George Floyd rises to our attention, we become consumed in watching news and media reports. For weeks following the aftermath we could be super-busied in attending events, rallies, special meetings to address the issue.  

In so doing, we could easily overlook the importance of running into the presence of God. God is our foundation and our true strength. He is the only One who can make sense of the many senseless things that happen in our world every day. He is the only One who can untangle complicated knots of the soul as it relates to injustice, anger, hurt, disappointment, fear, sorrow and confusion that we all experience [Psalm 23].

We must remember that all of us- to some degree- experienced soul trauma from the unjust killing of George Floyd. If we neglect our time with God during a time where when our soul's are so vulnerable and emotional, we put ourselves at risk of beginning to operate from our flesh. We put ourselves at risk of simply reacting like the world reacts [Romans 12:2]. We also risk allowing bitterness to permanently settle into our souls, thus crippling our faith and skewing our perspective.

In Psalm 73, Asaph is lamenting, angry and a bit confused. His complaint is, "Lord why do the wicked seem to prosper and get away with all their wickedness, while those of us who do good experience so much trouble? It's not fair!" Asaph does not get answers to his questions until He decides to spend real time alone in the presence of God. He puts it like this:

 [16]  When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me, [17]  until I went into the sanctuary of God. Then I understood... ~Psalm 73:16-17a

As he spends time with God, God reassures Asaph that a day will come when God will right all the wrongs of man. [Psalm 73:18-24] Asaph is once again able to gain a peace to his soul. Why? Because He took the time to bring his heartache directly to God. He concludes by saying, "It is good for me to draw near to God. I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, so that I may declare all [His] works." [Psalm 73:28] 

I want to suggest that- as a Christian- it is more important than ever that you take time and meet alone with God every day. Be still and pour out your soul to the Lord and listen to His voice before you engage in the many activities and discussions that will inevitably ensue throughout your day. [Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7]   

4. Every Christian Should Do Soul Searching for Personal Repentance

When Nehemiah cried out to God about the broken city of Jerusalem and the sins of the nation of Israel, he also mentioned himself as a sinner. [Nehemiah 1:6] Even though Nehemiah had no known or glaring sins, he was humble enough to include himself, realizing that he also must continue to be a better person.   

When we witness horrific acts of people sinning against others, it should be a time where we conduct careful introspection before God, concerning our own sinful attitudes and behaviors. Of course we probably have not done anything nearly as horrible as murder or abuse of another human being. But it is still a critical moment to search our souls and ask, "Lord how can I grow? How can I change and be better?"

To be introspective in a time like this is probably the hardest action because we are emotionally fixated on the horrible event that has gripped our hearts. We all struggle with some degree of self-righteousness, and we have a tendency to judge the behavior of others more strict, while judging our own flaws and sins with greater understanding and grace.

Yet in such a moment like this, we would be wise to pray like David and say, "Search me oh God and know my heart, test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked or hurtful thing in me and lead me in the way everlasting" [Psalm 139:23-24] 

I believe if we pray sincerely, God will answer specifically. And though it may not be as extreme as murder, God may very well bring to mind that we have an abusive tongue toward our children or other people. God may show us that even though we don't have bigotry that could lead to violence, we do have bigotry that says "I don't want my family to marry someone from another race."


In this moment there is room for us all to grow. God wants us to take action in helping the hurting, defending and protecting righteousness and justice. In this moment, God is calling us to seek Him for perspective and soul comfort. And in this moment, God wants each of us to dedicate ourselves to change and become better people. "God please help us to get it right this time."