Embracing Justice – Session Four
Embracing Justice – Session Four
In this session Isabelle Hamley interviews Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, the former CEO of Christian Aid, about the subject of Justice.
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Embracing Justice

This series is a six part journey exploring the themes of the book Embracing Justice – The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2022. Specifically looking at the question, ‘What might a spirituality shaped by biblical portrayals of justice look like for the church of the 21st century?’

In this session Isabelle Hamley interviews Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, the former CEO of Christian Aid, about the subject of Justice.

Interview with Amanda Khozi Mukwashi

Key Bible Verse

Exodus 19: 5-6

Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

Study Notes

Good News

The pursuit of justice is inherent as a Christian; part of the commission is to be in the world but not of the world and to spread the good news of the Gospel. The good news is that we have a saviour and that we are made in the image of God and are all equal in His eyes.

Justice and Grace

Communities around the world who are most suffering at the hands of injustice due to issues such as climate change, displacement and gender inequalities, have contributed the least for their ‘misfortune’. These people suffer at the hands of human injustice. What is extraordinary is that these communities show such grace! For them justice is not about an eye for an eye, or vengeance; it’s about grace.

Relational Justice

When something is broken we send it back to the manufacturer. In the case of humanity, we go back to the creator and see what the intention for us was. When we look at justice, the intention of God was that we are all made equal and in the image of God. We are invited to relate to each other as people deserving of dignity.

Relationships can be hard to navigate as they come with baggage, of both good and bad historical encounters, hence come with expectations of certain behaviour. These remembrances can leave us raw with the feeling of injustice. However, the key is to stay in conversation in these circumstances; to have the difficult conversations with the end goal of an equal relationship. In Jesus’ ministry He did not shy away from the social issues of the day, in fact He engaged with the people and the issues. He approached his ministry as a partnership with the people. He not only healed people but asked what He could do for them. This shows a true heart of grace and how relational Jesus was. He was interested in the whole person, both the physical and the heart.

From the book – pages 80-81

The idea that justice is communal and relational is obviously not only to be found in Scripture. Justice is by definition interpersonal, concerned with how human beings relate or fail to relate, and justice is needed because human beings cannot live independently. Because they need one another to survive, they also need systems to regulate their lives and enable all members to play their part. Here, however, is where consensus ends. Not every society agrees that everyone has a part to play, or gifts to give; nor do they agree on what the best systems may be to ensure that the community as a whole thrives. Theories of justice extend from the strongly libertarian, who would want a minimal state, with a high degree of personal freedom and rights, to those who advocate for a strong, centralized state to curb the human tendency to selfishness and self-preservation. Different social justice campaigners have different ideas of what ‘good’ looks like. Increasingly multicultural societies will inevitably hold different ideas of justice, and struggle to develop a vision that is not reduced to the lowest common denominator, or oppressively asserting one vision over all others.

Much against my better judgement, I once got into a heated discussion about refugees on social media. Social media is not really the best place to discuss complex issues in grown-up ways. But the exchange was illuminating, and gave me much food for thought. The discussion thread followed a news report of a boat full of desperate people sinking in the Mediterranean – a frequent occurrence still, as refugees desperate to find safety and a better life are promised safe passage in thoroughly unsafe conditions. I made a simple point about the fact that all of us belong to the
human race, that we are interconnected, and, by virtue of our common humanity, have responsibilities towards one another, as people and as nations. One of the responses was, ‘Well, I agree, but you can’t impose that philosophy on everyone. I might think that I have a duty to help others, but that’s my choice, and you can’t say that all human beings have duties to help one another. That’s just one opinion.’ Therein lies the problem in talking of justice: if there is no wider frame of reference, no sense that there are standards somehow external to ourselves, it is very difficult to agree on what justice looks like, and without agreement, it is difficult to put in place systems and institutions that reflect just values. A common vision for justice, or enough of a common vision, is necessary to enable individuals to become a community, rather than a collection of separate entities sometimes working together if it benefits them or fits their own standards. The comment on social media was typical of the privatization of ethics that we saw at work in the very first story of human beings in Scripture: wanting to decide what is good and bad for ourselves, without reference to God, or anyone else.

Discussion and Questions


Take some time to give thanks to God for all that He has given to you personally and corporately.

As encouraged in the interview pray for the re-birth and restoration of grace and justice. Pray that believers would be heard on this topic. Pray also for our faith leaders that in their space of influence they would not waste the chance to highlight justice issues.