This will be my last post on this blog. Unfortunately, I was not as diligent as I’d hope this past month, and I do apologize sincerely to all of you who read it regularly. I learned a lot through this experience—about sex trafficking, yes, but also about my own vanity and how much importance our society places on our clothing. We are quick to size people up based on what they have on, but really, it’s our hearts that matter.
So I wanted to make this last post a call to action—not to any specific issue necessarily, but generally, to care about the poor and broken in our communities and around the world. I’m not an expert on this issue, either theologically or practically, and I’m not going to be pretend to be; these are just my thoughts.
The issue of social justice can be a polarizing one in Christian communities. On one side there are those who feel that the only thing that matters is whether or not a person has faith in Christ; everything else is irrelevant. On the other side are those who believe that all that matters is caring for the poor and “doing” good in the world.
I think both sides are right. When this life fades away, Christ really IS the only thing that counts. This life, with all of its troubles and sorrows and injustice, is only temporary.
Scripture never divorces the Gospel from social justice. The Bible reveals a God whose heart is for the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the sick. The Old Testament law contains many directives concerning how we conduct business and use our talents and treasure to restore peace to our communities. The prophets speak out against social injustice. In the New Testament, God Incarnate walks among the lowly in society, becoming lowly Himself. He tells us that in the end we will be judged based on what we did “for the least of these.”
The two greatest commandments are to love God with everything we have and to love our neighbors as ourselves, neither of which can be achieved on our own power or abilities. But I think all too often we Christians stay in our safe middle-class bubbles. Maybe we do it out of fear, or maybe we do it because deep down, we haven’t really been changed by grace. For one reason or another, we’re reluctant to get our hands dirty.
But we were all made in the image of God. The face of God can be seen in every man, woman, and child, no matter how poor or disabled or sick or broken or weary or different. These people are our neighbors, and we are called to love them and give generously.
Every dime I have, every advantage I’ve been given in this life is not of my own making. It all comes from the Father. Who am I to refuse to give it back to Him?
I am far from perfect. I am often selfish with my time and my money. My heart is very much sinful and a work in progress (very slow progress, most days). I nevertheless pray that my heart would be so changed by the grace of God that I would love what He loves and desire what He desires, no matter the cost.
For more (and better) reading on the subject, here are a few of my recommendations: Ministries of Mercy (Tim Keller), Generous Justice (Tim Keller), To Live in Peace (Mark Gornik)