Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bread... but Chains

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.


regarding_matt said...

love the post, bro. i think we can no longer avoid the situation that is happening around us. we no longer have time to sit around debating the political answers to things while ignoring the need for action. how can we say we love somone without trying to meet them where they are at physically as well as mentally. i heard some startling stats: 800 million people in the world live in extreme poverty outside of the U.S. and a 14% infant mortality rate (U.S. has 1%. genocide and diahrrea kill people in africa and other parts but if it happened here then something would be done. i think we will be defined by what is done across the oceans and be held accountable for what is not done. love ya, bro.

jon arnold said...

i remember having this discussion in the edwards' kitchen. i agreed with you then and i agree now. i love what invisible children and other organizations are doing, but i feel like without communicating clearly that Jesus is the purpose behind our actions, there's no benefit. rachel and i sponsor a child through compassion international and it's a blessing to see a child and his family changed by our giving and by the words of encouragement and God's love we send them. however, i can tell you that we are NOT doing our full share to help the plight around the world.

The Journey said...

I took the liberty to post your quote on my facebook. I really appreciate the admittance that feeding the stomach doesnt satisfy the real hunger. I'm still mulling this one over.

(btw: I made sure to site your blog)