Social Justice vs. Social Responsibility - What's the Difference?

t heart we are good people. We work hard to feed our families, get good grades in school, love out families. We recognize injustice when we see it. We cringe when we witness treatment of others that treats them with indignity. We see the plight of the homeless when we pass them on the street. We comment on viral videos that portray the demeaning of human life. We even pray. But that is not enough.

My wife and I are listening to the newest Odd Thomas adventure by Dean Koontz (a brilliant series of books) with a lead character as odd as his name implies. Odd has a sense about him and often throws out one-liners that cause me to reflect a while. This morning, while traveling with an elderly widow, chasing down a demonic truck driver, Odd throws out this one:

"The world howls for social justice, but when it comes to social responsibility, you sometimes can't even hear crickets chirruping."

Whoa. Social responsibility - not just recognize wrong but actually do something about it.

Life provides plenty if opportunities to behave in a socially responsible way. Grand gestures are wonderful but not always necessary, often it is the small random acts of kindness that can change the course of someone's day, lift them up, dignify them, help them to see themselves as a child of God.

What can you do today? Start simply. Smile at a stranger, let someone cut in front of you in the parking lot, help a little old lady across the street, pray for the sick, the infirm, the helpless. But don't stop there.

Get involved with a cause that is working to bring justice in your community - a local food bank, homeless shelter or a community garden.

Find a cause you believe in and a group you can support and work with. Some things are just too big to solve on your own but "many hands make light work". For me, that's World Vision Micro and the St. Francis Breadline. Check them both out!

Finally, find something you are passionate about and ask yourself this question: is there something I can do with this passion that will make the world a better place for someone else. If the answer is yes then start using your gifts and make the world a better place. If you don't have a passion then it's about time you got one - get involved in a cause and become an agent of change.

Doing good with hot peppers? You know it. Find your passion and use it to change the world.

"If you want peace, work for justice." Pope Paul VI

Edmund Burke - "All it takes for evil to succeed is for a few good men to do nothing."

John 21:15-17
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter,“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him,“Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

Do Good, FaithBob Ferretti