God's Justice Begets Peace: A Message From Executive Director Chris Purnell

Chris Purnell

Chris Purnell


This blog post is part four in a four-part series this month that delves further into the matter of justice and its role in our work at the Clinic.

Kids are loud. Like, super-loud. And while I like to think my sweet little cherubs are better than most, I know that they have an adorable propensity to just shout randomly and cause a ruckus. It’s really sweet.

And what do parents want? Just a little peace and quiet. In fact, the two words—peace and quiet—are used so often together that they seem to refer to the same thing. If only things were quiet, that would be the epitome of peace.

It’s here that the Bible corrects us. In Scripture, the idea of peace, or shalom, is not defined by the absence of something—like noise and rambunctious rascals. Rather, it is the presence of flourishing. Peace is when all is as it should be; peace is when communities function well; peace is fullness, not absence.

Tim Keller, former pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, noted that shalom is a “rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts are faithfully and fruitfully employed, all under the arc of God’s love.”

Needs satisfied. Gifts employed. God’s love. This is the way the world was intended to be in the beginning, although we often miss the mark.

And our clients see this all the time. Since January 28, 1994—25 years ago to the day—the Clinic has walked alongside those who have been betrayed by spouses; persecuted by governments that were created to serve and protect; victimized by labor trafficking, having their labor stolen for someone else’s unjust gain.

But Jesus came to bring shalom, flourishing, to those for whom it is beyond their fingertips. Ephesians says that Jesus “came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.” It was God’s love that compelled him to come to all of us who were far off. It is God’s peace that makes everything as it should be.

The Bible says that one day, all will be well. This is not some thin hope based on wishful thinking. Rather, it is a hope anchored in the reality of a Risen Savior who did not spare his own life, but gave all that he had unto his own death and then triumphant resurrection.

The resurrection is God’s “Yes!” to shalom. Because one day, all things will be made new. And that is where our striving for justice shall cease. It is also where the true story of God’s flourishing will be just beginning.

Until justice and peace embrace,

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