If we identify as Christians, our faith must be the framework by which we structure every decision. God's Word needs to be the authority in our lives. It must be the lens with which we view every aspect of life. As God's people, we ought to care about what He cares about, and take up the causes that He instructs us to take up. We are called to be voices of justice and truth.
What are these causes? What is it that God is passionate about, and how can we extend ourselves to helping those He commands us to help? As always, we are to lean not on our own understanding, but turn to Scripture to discover God's will. So what does the Bible say?
Thus says the Lord : Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. Jeremiah 22:3
From this Scripture we can glean much into the heart of God. Once we understand the heart of God we can begin to care about what He cares about, and spend our lives walking in Kingdom purpose. As we do this, we will fulfill His commands and impact society in a powerful way.
God cares about the oppressed.
All throughout Scripture, from the Old Testament to the New, we see God's constant concern for the poor and the oppressed. God’s intention has always been for His followers to provide for the needy. This goes all the way back to the Old Testament, when God instituted multiple laws to be sure the Israelites would care for the needy among them, rather than ignore or take advantage of those who were poor.
God’s merciful heart for the poor and oppressed is weaved all throughout the Old and New Testaments. In the New Testament we see Jesus, who is the image of the invisible God, constantly extending Himself for the needy. Healing the sick. Giving sight to the blind. Cleansing lepers and setting the oppressed free. This was His God-given mission.
We can follow in Jesus’ footsteps by identifying and meeting the needs of those who desperately need help. There are so many hurting and needy people around us. A follower of Christ should remain conscious of spending his or her time, talent, and treasure in helping the less fortunate. This includes the poor, the homeless, and those in prison.
We must love not only in word, but also in deed. It is not enough to simply have compassion for those that are hurting. We must allow that compassion to move us to action. We can provide for the physical needs of others by sharing what we have, and giving of our resources. We can set people free spiritually by sharing the gospel and discipling them to follow Christ. Pray that God will open your eyes to the needy around you and then be ready to take action when He does.
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:17-18
God cares about the foreigner.
In the Old Testament, foreigners are often referred to as sojourners, those who are not native to the land. These people may be temporary dwellers or newcomers. The word originally used in the Hebrew implies that foreigners are guests, and should be treated as such.
These guests should be welcomed and cared for. Immigrants are not to be oppressed but to receive special consideration. Think about how you would provide for a guest in your own home. You would treat them kindly. You would supply them with food and clothing and pour hospitality upon them.
There are no exceptions here. God loves the sojourner, and as His people we are commanded to love the sojourner also. We are told to treat those foreign to our land with dignity and respect. However, just as the Israelites tended towards exclusivity against outsiders, so we can also breed this type of ignorance towards our fellow man.
We forget that each and every one of us was created in God's image. We forget that our mission is to spread the truth and love of Jesus to everyone, whether we deem them worthy or not. In a world where we are taught to fear those who are different than us, let us remain anchored biblically and instead take advantage of every opportunity to share the good news of Christ.
He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:18
Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt. Exodus 22:21
God cares about widows and orphans.
Our orphanages and foster homes are overflowing with children who just want to be loved and cared for. Children whose parents have abandoned them, often times succumbing to a life of selfishness and addiction over raising their children. Children whose parents cannot afford to care for them, deeming them better off in the care of others.
The effects of this broken and sinful world are most evident in these places, and sadly it is the children who suffer the most. God cares deeply about these children, and commands us to care as well.
Christians should be at the forefront of fostering and adopting children. We need to start opening our hearts, homes, and wallets to help care for these precious human beings. Not only is this God's will for us, it is actually described as an indicator of a pure and undefiled religion (James 2:27).
Is fostering or adoption an option for you? I understand some are not in the position to do this quite yet. However, there are many other ways to help such as visiting orphanages, foster buddy programs, fundraising, and donations. Pray about specific ways you can help to make a difference in the lives of these children and then spring to obedient action when God reveals the answer.
We are also commanded to care for widows. Widows are considered by God to be socially and economically vulnerable. In biblical times these women were most at risk for poverty and ostracization. Even today, widows face problems financially and legally. Not to mention the loneliness and grief that sets in once a spouse passes away.
We can help care for widows financially, by helping them with deeds around the house, or simply by providing a listening ear and a comfort during their time of loss. We can show them the love of Jesus by coming alongside them during their grieving process.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17
God cares about the unborn.
God's commands His people not to harm the innocent. As His followers, not only should we uphold this command, we should also speak out against any practice that condones the shedding of innocent blood.God considers each and every life to be precious and valuable.
Each year, an estimated 800,000-900,000 abortions are performed in the United States. Now, we know for a scientific fact that life begins at conception. We also know via ultrasound technology that these babies do feel pain, they recoil from the sharp instruments that are used to break their limbs in pieces and crush their skulls so they can be removed from their mother's body. No later than 16 weeks after fertilization, pain receptors are present throughout the bodies of these babies.
This is not an issue of women's rights, a "war on women", or men trying to control women's bodies, as popular thought would try and lead us to believe. This is about upholding the sanctity of life, and protecting those who cannot protect themselves. Who will be a voice for these children who literally have no voice, if not God's own people? Those who bear the name of Christ should be the first to stand up for these babies.
We have the responsibility to speak out for these innocent children, just as we have the responsibility to help care for them after they are born. Proactively, we should be teaching women to love themselves and value their bodies by showing them their worth through God's eyes.
We should be teaching women that sex is a precious gift, given by God to be enjoyed within the confines of marriage, and not to cheapen themselves by giving this gift away in any other circumstance. Instead, we are teaching women to be sexually irresponsible and then dispose of their babies in the name of "choice".
It's time we teach our men to be sexually pure. It's time we raise them from boyhood to be men who follow after God and abide by His commands. We must teach men also the value of women and to respect, cherish, and love them as they deserve, Instead, culture instructs men to view women as sexual objects, and treat them as such.
We must teach every person that children are a gift and a blessing from the Lord. Each and every life, beginning at conception, has a God-given purpose and a unique role that only he or she can fill. Let us treat every life as precious. God is the giver of life, and it is His right, and His right alone, to take life away.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16
Our Heavenly Father is a God of justice, mercy and love. He is a God who defends the innocent and takes up the cause of the needy. As His people, may we uphold these same causes. Our time on this earth is very short in light of eternity. Let us spend it on what truly matters to God.
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Proverbs 3:27