In our Christian circles, we have chosen to avoid the subject of suffering. We may take a few moments during our Sunday service to pray for the social injustice happening around us, but little action accompanies our words. Uncomfortable topics, such as abortion, inequality and refugees, surround the subject of suffering and cause us to keep quiet in order to avoid division. As followers of Christ, we are not called to live a comfortable life. We are called to speak for those who do not have a voice and to fight for social justice.
One of the most influential Christian advocates for social justice was Martin Luther King Jr. Life would have been much easier if he had stayed behind the pulpit preaching to his congregation, but, as a man of God, King knew he needed to respond to the suffering that was present among African Americans in the United States.
King strived to live a life that reflected Scripture. In the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, King constantly turned to God to empower him.
Martin Luther King Jr. encountered an immense amount of suffering during his advocacy. In his famous speech, “I Have a Dream,” King said, “I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations . . . Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.”
The integration of his faith led African-Americans to understand that they were worthy and loved by God. Christians need to be involved in advocacy, because we can give real hope to a suffering world.
Our calling as God’s children is to further the kingdom of God. Being an advocate is the beginning of evangelism because we have the opportunity to share God’s truth with those experiencing suffering. In an article in Christianity Today, Phil Miglioratti references Romans 10:14 which states, ‘“How can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”’
As Christians, we know that suffering cannot be overcome without God. What is the point of taking action if we forget to tell the suffering world the hope of Jesus?
With the rise of online platforms and social media, we are seeing social injustice exposed each day. Social media has given us more chances to advocate than ever before. By properly utilizing online platforms, we can inform people of the injustice behind current issues and how we can change it.
For us to reach the hurting world, we need to recognize suffering around us. Advocacy is uncomfortable and will take you out of your comfort zone. Being an advocate fulfills God’s mission for His kingdom.