“This past winter, we had unusually cold weather…. Some nights, temperatures plummeted below zero. Dashing from a warm car through the cold into a warm house, I thought of the dozens of people …near our University, who had no warm place to sleep. I couldn’t imagine how difficult it would be to try to survive overnight in the cold. The physical cold might be unbearable, but for me, the more painful reality would be that no one loved me enough to invite me inside on such a cold night. I grew up in a Christian environment, but as a child and teenager, I heard very little about God’s heart for those in need. I’m not sure how we missed it, because the Bible is full of passages speaking about God’s justice, compassion, and faithful love for those who have nothing, who are marginalized or oppressed. God is pleased when His church acts like Him, showing compassion for those in need, and God can use this generosity to lead those who don’t know Him to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Social justice is not the gospel, but it is a natural consequence of the gospel taking root in our hearts. Jesus’ half-brother James says that true faith produces godly action (James 1:22). He further explains that true devotion to God results in taking action to care for those who could never repay us: “orphans and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27, ESV). …In Isaiah 58, the children of Israel are rebuked because of their lack of response to the oppressed, the hungry, and the homeless. The children of Israel were repeatedly commanded to care for those who were displaced or in need, because the Israelites themselves were once immigrants in need. Now they were practicing outward religious activities such as fasting, but they were not demonstrating any evidence of a heart like God’s heart.” Matt McAlack
“our Lord Jesus Christ … though He was rich,
yet for your sake …became poor”
2 Corinthians 8:9
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- If you were sitting on the sidewalk in the bitter cold, ignored by people walking past, would you feel loved by God?
- Doesn’t practicing “social justice” create a context which gives meaning and power to the gospel when it’s preached? If a “gospel” fails the “justice test”, can it really be “good news?”
- Are you developing a “heart like God’s heart” – not only in church, but on the street?
Abba, help us embrace the poverty that will enable us to enrich others.
For More: The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
. “I have striven not to laugh at human actions,
not to weep at them,
not to hate them,
but to understand them.”
“You can’t use reason to argue someone out of a position he didn’t get into by reason. …There are, on the other hand, ways to communicate and enlighten not dependent on mere information that can overcome deeply embedded prejudices better than argument. A life can be an argument; being can be a reason. An idea can be embodied in a person, and in human form it may break down barriers and soften hardness of heart that words could not. This is, at least in part, what John the Evangelist means when he refers to Christ as logos. Although translators often render it as ‘word,’ it is much more than that. It is Greek for ‘reason’ and ‘argument’: our word for ‘logic’ comes from it. Christ was God’s unanswerable ‘argument.’ His people had hardened their hearts against his spoken reasons, the arguments propounded – in words – for centuries by prophets and sages. So he sent an argument in the form of a human being, a life, a person. The argument became flesh and blood: so real that no one could refute or ignore it.” John Boswell
“The first principle of moral psychology [is that] Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second. To explain this principle I used the metaphor of the mind as a rider (reasoning) on an elephant (intuition) and I said that the rider’s function is to serve the elephant. Reasoning matters, particularly because reasons do sometimes influence other people, but most of the action in moral psychology is in the intuitions. …We humans have an extraordinary ability to care about things beyond ourselves, to circle around those things with other people, and in the process to bind ourselves into teams that can pursue larger projects. That what religion is all about … it’s what politics is about too. [But] …team membership blinds people to the motives and morals of their opponents – and to the wisdom that is to be found scattered among diverse political ideologies.” Jonathan Haidt
“Then the owner of the vineyard said,
‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love;
perhaps they will respect him.’”
Jesus in Luke 20:13
Moving From Head to Heart
- Do you depend heavily on “information” and “strategic reasoning” to persuade others?
- Is your life a persuasive “argument” for the views you hold?
- Does your sense of your own rightness blind you “to the motives and morals of your opponents?”
Abba, help me live a life for you that is hard to dismiss or ignore.
For More: The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt
Thanks for following and sharing my blog. I appreciate it! – Bill
“In my natural state my capacity for compassion and love begins with me and proceeds out (or not) to various concentric circles of human relationships with a decreasing fervency. I have a lot of compassion for my family, but by the time my compassion gets out to the remotest concentric circle where people in strange, faraway countries live, I usually don’t have much left. Granted, this is quite understandable. The limitations of my mind, let alone the limitations of my heart, do not allow me to embrace everyone in the world in the same way that God does…. While this is quite natural and quite human, it is not particularly godly …the extent to which our compassion extends beyond our immediate circle is the extent to which we are loving more like God and less like our carnal selves. While we can never love the broad world as God does … we can at least agree on the ideal toward which we should seek to grow. …I believe [God] understands our tendency to [have compassion for those closest to us] but is probably eager for us to reach out, as we are able (or as we seek his enabling), beyond our carnal limitations, prejudices, cultural mythologies and convenient stereotypes. Jesus calls us to be witnesses of his love, truth, salvation, compassion and justice ‘in Jerusalem [at home], and in all Judea and Samaria [nearby], and to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8) …this is the unique, biblical hope that Christians can offer to a world groaning under the heartache of injustice and oppression: God has compassion on the victims of injustice all over the world, among all people, without favor or distinction. We will, through our acts of compassion, give witness to our belief that what the Bible says is true, or not.” Gary Haugen
“If you love those who love you …
Are not even the tax collectors doing that?”
Jesus in Matthew 5:46
Moving From Head to Heart
- Does your love transcend “what is quite natural?” Is it becoming more like God’s love?
- Do you move outward, practicing love in more remote “circles?”
- Can you identify “prejudices, cultural mythologies and convenient stereotypes” you’ve been using as excuses for not moving outward in love?
- Does your life testify to the justice of God?
Abba, let me be a force for love in this world.
For More: Good News About Justice by Gary Haugen
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”