Social Justice. To be honest, the term has started to strike a nerve when I hear it. Not the kind that irritates, but the kind that catches my attention. It’s been said that this term will define our entire generation. Specifically, Bono has said the way we respond to the Aids crisis in Africa will define us.
It’s true. We live in a world full of dying orphans, child soldiers, sex slaves and filthy rich white men who justify it all. We live in a world that’s broken to its very core on every level. Where do we find a solution? How do we solve the problems that seem to outnumber my ability to count them all?
As Christians we’re given two commands; to love the Lord with all my heart (number one), and then to love my neighbor as myself (coming second on the list). This is where we find our problem. Somewhere along the way the action of “loving” someone got watered down to mean “feed them”, “build them a well”, or “just meet their need.”
My fellow redeemers, if we look at a man and give him bread but put forth no effort to break his chains we do not love him. We simply use him and leave him a captive to the enemy we were set free from. Our actions then are not rooted in love but pride. The motivations behind them were not to “love” him, but to make ourselves feel better about our own life because we did something noteworthy. In reality, it’s a rather selfish attempt. We can’t loose sight of the fact that no matter how bad this world seems to be, it is temporary. Our intentions must be to meet more than just his physical needs.
As light in a dark world it is our responsibility to not live a self-centered life. Jesus actually said “whatever you do for the least of these, you’ve done for me.” (Matthew 25:40) We are called to meet the needs of those less fortunate than a western-culture-college kid who drinks Starbucks three times a week. I’m called to not be so wrapped up in my iPod that I miss those who haven’t eaten this week.
We’re called to go. We’re called to love the unlovable. We’re called to meet needs, but more than anything we’re called to “deliver from bondage those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42)
Take them water.
Take them relief.
Feed their children.
Deliver them from slavery.
Give them a second chance.
Show them life.
But ABOVE ALL ELSE, show them Jesus.
Love without Jesus is not love.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Bread... but Chains