The term ‘woke’ is being used today to call our attention to social injustice. The term is another way of saying ‘I am aware.’
Here’s the definition: Woke is a slang term that is easing into the mainstream from some varieties of a dialect called African American Vernacular English. Awake is often rendered as woke, as in, ‘I was sleeping, but now I'm woke.’ 'Woke' is increasingly used as a byword for social awareness.
Being aware or ‘woke’ to the inequalities of this world is not a bad concept, but it doesn’t go far enough. Being ‘woke’ doesn’t bring us answers … it only makes us aware. Social injustice is the result of sin, and sin is forever with us. Jesus told us that the poor will always be with you, meaning that sin would constantly be nipping at your heels no matter what you try to do.
Matthew 26:11 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.
As long as we live here on this earth there will be sin, and as long as there is sin, there will be social injustice, murder, theft, rape, drugs, human trafficking, racism, and a host of other dark issues that hurt people and their families.
Being ‘woke’ or being aware of the social inequities is only part of the scenario. The other part of being ‘woke’ in my opinion is the Spiritual. You cannot interpret this world, its politics, its economic systems, its Moral codes, or its ideas without a Spiritual lens. God tells us plainly that we do not live by bread alone because we are more than just physical and emotional beings.
Matthew 4:4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
So being ‘woke’ has to incorporate the Spiritual too. Being aware that God has something to say about how we live our lives, how we treat others, and how we defend what is right in our society is the answer to being ‘woke.’
The issue I see so often with us as Christians is that we inform God of our ideas and make Him a part of our plans, rather than letting God inform us of His ideas and joining Him in His work. (Henry Blackaby talks about this in Experiencing God.)
We have the equation backwards. Social justice advocates are notorious for doing this. They want justice on their terms and eliminate the process of asking and searching for what God wants.
I don’t see Jesus with a bullhorn telling people to get justice in whatever way seems right to them. He wouldn’t tell a crowd to go “get yours, you desire it.”
So, what would He say?
“Forgive them who used you, abused you. Have mercy as your Father has mercy on you. Pray for those who are your enemies and seek to do good to those who seek to oppose you.”
As followers of Jesus, we are called to tell His Story, preach His Message, and live out His Instructions in our world. We are to stand for righteousness and do what is right in the eyes of both God and man. Yet in our emotionally charged world, we interpret social issues though our image and not His.
I am not against social justice matters, but I do not see many of these causes following in the footprints of Jesus. We are not following Him but instead we are blazing our own trails, which will end up in destruction.
Our real motivation for social justice isn’t in demanding things, but in submitting to God. It is not looking for revenge, because it isn’t ours to take. The scriptures are clear on this:
Romans 12:19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.
If our arrogance supersedes His Word and instruction, we are on the path to losing our way no matter how ‘woke’ we become. People can inspire us, and we can be instructed by others, but the journey is still ours to make.
You … not your movement, not your Church, not your organization … you will stand before God one day, and you will give an account on how you followed in His Footsteps … or if you blazed your own trail.
Keeping Life Honest and Truthful … Larry Kutzler