Justice and Compassion: Not Liberal or Social but Biblical

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Over the last decade, there has been a growing trend among younger evangelicals who have been stepping back from more traditional stances.  There’s been a growing aversion towards their parents’ political affiliations and the need to embrace a cause.  Breaking ranks might seem liberating, but as always, we must search our hearts and motives.  Are we serving the underserved to “rebel” against the establishment or to rid ourselves of Christian guilt?  Or is it because we are obeying a Biblical mandate to bring comfort, healing and restoration to people?

“No, O people, the LORD has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NLT).  This verse obviously goes against the grain of our opportunistic society.  The selfishness in our nation has polices focused on American exceptionalism, convenience, innovation, our way of life, etc.?  But how much more do we need?

The waste and greed in society is not as reprehensible as when it exists in the Church.

  • Millions are donated annually but very little of it goes to the underserved and towards spreading the Gospel.  Most is spent on our comfort and convenience.
  • 95% of the Church’s income is spent on domestic projects; 4.5% on regular missions, and .5 % on frontier missions (where there is no substantial, ongoing ministry taking place).
  • The world around us starves for physical and spiritual food while we spend millions to build monuments to human egos and for the comfort of spoiled American Christians.

It’s paramount that the church responds to needs, crises, and disasters.  Our focus need not be on what other people aren’t doing but on how Christ wants US to be involved.  If we’re passionate about issues, let’s do something about it instead of belittling those who don’t share our opinions.

The Church’s flawed character rises up when needs are revealed or we’re asked to serve.  Our responses so many times are so unChristlike.  When we see underserved people, does the thought “Get a JOB” go through our minds?  “Do something to help yourself instead of expecting me to enable your poverty.”  Then we cross to other side of the road, walk faster, or get into a  deep conversation so we can justify our inaction.

I believe that too many churchgoers possess what I call a Northern Abolitionist attitude.  Sure, the northern states wanted the slaves set free in the 1800’s but they certainly didn’t want them coming up to Detroit, New York, and  Chicago.  We’re telling them “You don’t fit in my world.”  Then there’s the “I’ll Pray for you” scapegoat.  Recognize the need, feel bad, shed a tear, then pray “God raise someone up…someone else.”  Hello?  Let’s look in the mirror and see the answer to the prayer.

Try this on:  only 5% of church attenders serve or volunteer.  If every North American Christian tithed, we could wipe out global poverty!  There’s an incredible amount of unmet potential in American pews.  We point fingers at the government to act, but what is God calling us to do?

ESPOUSE JUSTICE
This means to take up a cause, to act or treat in an equitable manner.  We are to DO right, not BE right. 

Quick quiz when it comes to the underserved:

1. Why did God destroy Sodom and Gommorah? It wasn’t just immorality, but their unjust treatment of the poor. “’Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy” (Ezekiel 16:49).

2. In the times of the prophets, why did God condemn His people? Idolatry?  Yes.  But more so because of their lack of regard for the poor  “After deeply condemning Israel for their meaningless worship, God says: “learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).

3. How does James define “pure religion”? Not just personal holiness, but if we are just in their treatment of the poor.  James 1:27  says “to look after orphans and widows in their distress”

Food insecurity is having limited or insufficient access to food on a consistent basis.  Tonight, 1/5 Americans will go to sleep hungry.  The recession over the last 5 years is adding 1.5MIL to already 3.5MIL homeless, 1/3 are veterans, 10,000 of which are from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

EXTEND MERCY
Let us demonstrate compassion or kindness toward everyone, including our enemies.  “When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd” (Mt 9:36).  Jesus was moved with compassion for their needs, NOT disdain for their hang-ups, issues, and sins.  We can see clearly the symptoms and results of injustice and inequity: tense race relations, domestic violence, people trapped in the cycles of drug addictions, alcoholism, broken families, and crime.  Our silence and inaction becomes a death sentence for thousands.  We must be gripped with a passionate love that sees past imperfections and rough edges, and embraces those with different experiences.  Don’t just identify the problems but communicate “I’m willing to face them with you”

Let’s shine not scream in the darkness: Listen, love, walk alongside with, encourage take their hand and say, “Let’s figure it out together.”  It’s said that If merely 7% Christians adopted there would be no more orphans in the world.  It’s time to be His hands, go where He would go, demonstrate His love.

 

EXEMPLIFY HUMILITY
Unfortunately, the Body of Christ isn’t known for being humble or Christlike; not in America and not now.  We’re tagged as bigoted, highly opinionated, self-righteous, arrogant, condemning.  ”Ooooh, we’re being persecuted.  Our good is being ill spoken of.”  NO, but our stupidity and foolishness are being exploited.  Meanwhile, Christ gets a bad name  Yes, we’ll be attacked but let it be because we’re serving God’s agenda not our own.  When Jesus was attacked He didn’t defend Himself, answer or strike back, demand His rights, try to be right.  He was merely a servant.  Let us reflect His gentleness, meekness, and love. 

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