In his deeply personal memoir, The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956, reflecting his own experience of incarceration and exile in a Gulag in Soviet Russia, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn observed: “In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”
One of life’s difficulties is facing injustice. When it comes to confronting injustice in the world, we must address the question: “Whose responsibility is it to do something about injustice, anyway?”
As men who are disciples of Jesus Christ, what can you and I do to confront injustice in our world and lift up the less fortunate in our society? We care about the needy, because the Bible teaches us to. God cares about those suffering injustice – and so should we. But how do we go about helping the poor, single parents, orphans and others in need of relief from injustice? What about those who are impacted by poverty or those who became socially displaced due to catastrophic events like war and natural disasters? How do we respond to their needs?
As I write this blog our country is living through one of the most politically divisive times in American history. This is just one man’s opinion, but it seems to me one political party is able to articulate their concern for the less fortunate with heartfelt compassion, although the resultant public policies do not appear to help the poor – but create a permanent underclass instead. By contrast, the other political party is generally unable to get across their genuine concern for “the least of these” – not following through compassionately enough while offering public policies that can provide solid opportunities to help the poor and impoverished. Neither party seems able to deliver effectively or efficiently.
That’s why I believe that the Church alone is in a position to make a lasting impact on the injustices of our world – regardless of the political leanings of her individual members. Unlike human efforts at governing society politically, as disciples of Jesus we have both a “theology of the less fortunate” and the compassionate, transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That “dynamic duo” – a deep understanding of biblical justice and the Gospel of Jesus Christ – is the only way to touch people’s lives one-by-one and begin the process of providing the lasting support and help they need.
The early New Testament church genuinely cared for the less fortunate. And since we understand the Bible – and especially the New Testament – to generally apply to the Church today, then the command to help the helpless is also the responsibility of the modern-day Church. The true Church is filled with caring and compassionate people helping other hurting people. The Church has always found ways to help the helpless. As individual members of the Church we can do something to address life’s injustices.
One tangible way, perhaps even the best way, to show compassion and generosity is to personally help people suffering injustice. It requires making personal sacrifice for others who need our help.
Greg Koukl is a Christian apologist and radio talk show host. He writes, “When we help others personally, it changes us. God is concerned not just with our actions, but with our character.”
There are many ways to touch the life of a person who’s one of the “least of these,” and there are many organizations that can help you do it. Whether you have a passion for the rights of the unborn, care deeply about the horrible scourge of the human slave trade and sex trafficking, want to make a difference in the lives of widows and orphans, or want to help alleviate the pain of the poor and homeless—you name your justice cause—there are ways to get involved.
Theodore Roosevelt, our twenty-sixth US president, was a man who understood justice. He said: “Justice consists not in being neutral between right and wrong, but finding out the right and upholding it, wherever found, against the wrong.” As you become more aware and begin to care enough to act on behalf of the abused, mistreated, and spiritually needy in the world, find a justice cause near to your heart, and get involved.
What’s your opinion? What do you think about whose responsibility is it to care for others less fortunate than you?
Read more about Biblical Justice and Your Life Decisions in my book Every Man Jack available on Amazon(www.amazon.com/Every-Man-Jack-Becoming-Wants/dp/1973680386) and Westbow Press (www.westbowpress.com), and wherever books are sold.