Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. (Ex. 2:12)

When was the last time you saw someone fight for your cause in a way that made you cringe? In this passage, Moses comes upon one of his own people experiencing the cruel oppression all too familiar for those under the yoke of bondage. He had seen the lashes before; he knew that by all rights he should be among the laborers being whipped. Unable to turn aside any longer, Moses does what needs to be done: he stops the beating. But he kills someone in the process.

Today, few debates around social justice, theology, or church leadership end up leaving physical bodies in their wake, but I can cite countless people whose souls have become casualties. They may believe in God’s voice, but struggle to hear it over the shouts of discord.

Moses reminds us that we can pursue justice unjustly: We can argue the “right” opinions or strategies and champion the “right” organizations, but turn people off to the gospel in the process.

Think back through your church experience; you can probably pinpoint one or two people whose unjust pursuit of justice left wreckage. We do the same thing every time we pursue the right thing in the wrong way. Justice that pushes away the people God has called us to love is not really justice.

Ask God how you may be pursuing the right thing in the wrong way.

Ethan Linder is the college, young adult, and connections pastor at College Wesleyan Church in Marion, Indiana, where he resides with his wife and son. Ethan enjoys running, reading, and roasting coffee.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.