Does your heart burn within you to 'defend the weak and the fatherless, to uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed?'(Psalm 82:3)
Justice ministry is on the hearts and minds of many in CMF. There are myriad opportunities to address injustices and inequalities in healthcare.
We are in the first stages of thinking about and developing a CMF Biblical Justice programme, which will look at how we can address inequities in healthcare to bring whole person health to the vulnerable; at how we can stand up and speak out for the voiceless; at how we can unite and equip members to engage with biblical justice; and at how we can connect and share stories of the work that members are already doing.
Why 'biblical justice' rather than 'social justice'? Social justice focuses on addressing temporal injustices in society. Biblical justice starts with the eternal in mind, seeing people as created in the image of God.
The Hebrew word for justice is mishpat, outworked by advocating for the vulnerable (eg. Isaiah 1:17) and changing social and political structures to prevent injustice (eg. Ezra 7:25).
Righteousness and justice are inextricably linked in the heart of God. He is the God who upholds the cause of the oppressed, who provides for the poor and liberates the prisoner; he sustains the marginalised and the vulnerable.
So, what might CMF Biblical Justice look like? It will be distinctly Christian and medical, unashamedly pointing to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. The basis for our actions and definitions of justice will be clearly framed by Scripture, rather than the secular values of society.
Who and what are some of the areas where we can 'do biblical justice' and 'bring health to the vulnerable'? Refugees and asylum seekers, addicts, prisoners, the homeless, those suffering from mental health conditions, and survivors of domestic abuse or human trafficking are just a few groups of people to consider. There are areas such as the inequity of resource allocation, priorities in public health, biased attitudes, undelivered healthcare promises, poor service provision, the pharmaceutical industry and service planning where biblical justice could also be applied.
As healthcare professionals, we see and know more than anyone else in the church about the inequities and disparities in healthcare. But we can also see solutions. We have a duty to stand up, speak out and make a difference.
CMF has a significant part to play and affords a unique and appropriate platform for Christian doctors and nurses in the UK to 'do justice'. We want to see members involved in advocating for the vulnerable and changing social structures to prevent injustice wherever God has placed us.
And by doing so, we want to be known by the NHS and society as people who love and care and 'stick out our necks' for people for whom no one else is willing to, because we are disciples of the one true and living God, who has a heart for the vulnerable, the God '...who though rich, yet for our sakes, became poor, so that we through his poverty might become rich'. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Watch this space for more information in the coming months.