“Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.” Mat 6:1-2
What were the pharisees doing that made Jesus so angry with them? They were giving money to the poor, they were caring for those oppressed...they were performing social justice and Jesus got mad at them. Why? The reason why is that the pharisees were performing social justice for the wrong reason. They wanted to be made right in the eyes of God, and glorified in the eyes of men. Justice was just a means to an end, the end of standing before men. If Christ was concerned with the motivations of the pharisees in performing social justice we should ask the question of ourselves: What is our motivation here at Valparaiso University for our concern for social justice. Are we like the pharisees seeking to look better before men? Or are we seeking to be right before God through our actions even though its impossible? Or have we turned justice into an end rather than a means?
As Christians we should not view justice as an end. We seek justice because it helps restore right relationships between individuals and groups. Christ mission here on earth was not to turn the earth into a just paradise, his mission was to die on the cross for the sins of the world. When we turn justice into an end, we lose sight of the only end, which is Christ. Christ is our end, he is our motivation for justice, he can be the only right motivation for justice. Let us first seek Christ, and in that seeking we will be just.