Posted by: Mark | January 11, 2010

Christians ? (Part 5)

This post is a series and the first part can be found here

Resulting Compassion/Action

I live in a country were poverty is unavoidable. When I lived in Northern Ireland it was possible to go through life without coming into contact with poverty except on your TV screen. There were very few beggars and even when there were I often suspected them of being career beggars i.e. people who were not really poor but whose “job” it was to beg. When I took economics in high school poverty was defined as a relative thing or in other words you were poor if you could not interact financially, socially and educationally with your peers. To put that into context in a somewhat flippant way you could be defined as poor in the UK if you didn’t have a TV and a WII because all your friends had them. In the UK poor had lost its meaning a little and is avoidable. Here it has not. There are people in this country who cannot afford to eat. There are people in this country who have nowhere to live. There are people in this country who die because they cannot afford medical care. There are families in this country who cannot send their kids to school even though this country does a stellar job in providing good public education. As a result of this compassion to the poor has moved from a theoretical action exercised a few times a year to something that is a daily in your face reality.

Everyday there are people in want and need who pass through our lives. What is my responsibility to them according to the Bible? What must be evident in my life as a Christian that these people need and can clearly see? The Bible says:

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. 1 John 3.17-19

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? James 2.14-16

John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.” Luke 3.11

Or to call a spade a spade (although John does a good job at this) if you see someone with needs (that is real needs like food, water, shelter and clothing) and you don’t help, then you are not a Christian. (NB In the verses above both John and James put this kind of compassion in the context of brothers and sisters however when John the Baptist was asked what kind of fruit that repentance should have he made no distinction – we are to be compassionate to all). Of course I have made this black and white but I am not sure there is supposed to be that many shades of grey. As Christians what are we hanging onto anyways. All of the money, possesions, clothing, belongings etc that we have in our lives will all pass away when we die, we can’t take it with us. However, all of our good deeds towards others are treasure that is built up in heaven. They are deeds done directly to Christ himself (Matthew 25.31-46). Do pray for Louise and I as we deal with this situation. Louise detailed it in a little more depth here.

If you are reading this in the west and are wondering how this affects you please be informed that a huge portion of the world is hungry. Please be informed that a large portion of the world lives in financial poverty. Please be informed that people in the world need your compassion. Please be informed that as a Christian it is your responsibility to be compassionate.

Here are a few sites to help you get informed:

<Part 4

Part 6 >



  1. […] we have a responsibility to think and be prepared to give answers. However, we also have a responsibility to help those in need. Lets pray to God for the Haitian people and about our response to […]

  2. […] < Part 5 […]

  3. […] Part 5 > […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: