Archive for the tag “Love your neighbor as yourself”

An opportunity to love your neighbor as yourself

pipesCarol Pipes writes at The Exchange:

I met Mr. Balentine in the summer of 1993. A group of 10 high school students and their leaders had been sent to Mr. Balentine’s to make much-needed repairs to his house, which sat in a secluded cove of the Appalachian foothills. What started as a simple project turned into a major rebuild. The only thing keeping the front wall attached the house was a thin layer of shingles overhead. The entire house had to be razed and rebuilt.

At the end of the project, Mr. Balentine walked into his “new” home. Tears in his eyes, he remarked that his family could finally return and all live together. His words are forever etched in my memory: “You’ve not only restored my house, you’ve restored my dignity.”

“You’ve not only restored my house, you’ve restored my dignity.”

That summer and many mission trips later have opened my eyes to the hurting and neglected neighbors who live near and far. We live in a broken world. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, creation and humanity were scarred. Enter broken relationships. Deceit. Hunger. Corruption. Poverty. Disease. Envy. War. These are only a few of the manifestations of our broken world. But God is in the restoration business.

… There are many more people like Mr. Balentine who need a love they can see—a love that can provide a new home and a new heart. They need to know about a Savior whose healing goes way beyond a fresh coat of paint, a roof over their heads, or a sack full of groceries.

I can promise that not far from you is a field rife with hurt but white unto harvest. This truly is the land of opportunity. An opportunity to love your neighbor as yourself.

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More than verbal witness, more than spiritual rebirth

feeding hungry man

Mark Kelly writes at kainos:

Presenting the Gospel is more than a verbal witness. People who know nothing of Jesus will understand when, in the power of God’s Spirit,  we do three things: tell the message, live like God’s children, and allow God to work through us to do his miraculous work in their lives. …

[You have] “fully presented the Good News of Jesus Christ” [when you are] living the Gospel before lost souls and cooperating with God’s desire to perform miraculous works of healing and restoration in their lives. You are called to live before others in a way that demonstrates both that you love God with “all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” and that you love your neighbor the way you love yourself. (Mark 12:28-34) You are called to demonstrate how to live in a way that honors God, in every aspect of daily life — to teach God’s ways to sinners, so they can turn to him and be saved. (Psalm 51:13) You are called to bring the power of God to bear on their brokenness so they can be healed and be made whole.

The Bible does more than tell us how to be born again; it also is full of teaching about how God intends us to live our lives. From the law of Moses, to the books of wisdom, to the teaching of Jesus, to the letters of the apostles, God’s Word speaks to us about many practical issues of daily life: how we work, use our money, raise our children, help people in need, stay healthy, and so on. The Scripture tells us story after story about God’s love for people that is so strong it can heal the sick, give sight to the bind, make the lame walk, set free captives held by the devil himself, even bring the dead back to life.

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Ready to make a difference?

Click to learn about Courage HomesYou don’t have to look far to find injustice in this world. For too many people, it’s an awful fact of everyday life. Desperate parents send a child to find work in the city, and she winds up chained to a bed in a brothel. Widows are murdered to join their recently deceased husbands in the afterlife. Villages are burned by marauders who use rape as a weapon. Babies die of easily preventable diseases. Entire social castes are forced to work at slave wages. The list goes on and on.

The problems are so massive, you wonder how anything will ever change. Powerful people are invested in the status quo. Greed and corruption can overpower even the best intentions. Besides, many of us struggle just to keep our own heads above water. How could we help so many people in such desperate straits? And where would we start?

What we’re really asking is, Why should I care? Why should I get personally involved?

We care because God’s heart breaks over the needless and unjust suffering of His lost children. You don’t have to read much of the Old Testament to discover that God rejects those who turn a blind eye toward injustice. In the same breath that the Lord promises the “precious cornerstone” of Christ, he also declares: “I will make justice the measuring line.” (Isaiah 28:16-17 HCS) One reason he sent Israel into captivity, though they sought him with prayer and fasting, was they refused to loose the chains of injustice. (Isaiah 58:6-7) God tells His people he requires them to both love mercy and do justice. (Micah 6:8)

Jesus’ command also was clear: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) His own mission statement included setting free the oppressed. (Luke 4:18) And when the Savior talked about Judgment Day, the people going to heaven were those who fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, clothed the naked, cared for the sick, and visited the prisoner. (Matthew 25)

Surely that’s a reason to get personally involved.

Many people recoil at the phrase “social justice,” because it has been hijacked by self-appointed Robin Hoods who want to steal from the rich, give to the poor — and make themselves rich in the process. The Bible, however, is very clear that social justice is both God’s earnest desire and his righteous demand.

Social justice is about relationships — people reconciled to God and with one another. The Bible calls it shalom. It doesn’t matter if the child chained to a brothel bed is half a world away; she is my lost little sister. If I opened my eyes, I could find the same injustice in my own community.

God’s heart breaks over so much needless and unjust suffering. He’s made his plan clear: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He offers life-changing power that transforms individual lives, whole communities, even entire nations — if we just quit looking for someone else to solve the problem and get involved ourselves.

Multiply Justice! is a movement of people who understand that social justice begins with transformed hearts and minds. People who care create justice by helping people in need. Governments can defend and promote justice, but justice is created by people in community. Changed hearts can change the world.

So we find a place to start and begin showing people how to make a difference. Often it takes great courage, because some powerful people are deeply invested in the status quo. But lives can be changed, and as one community begins to experience more justice, they realize they can create justice for others too. As we all pay it forward, we multiply justice in the world. Lives are changed physically and spiritually. Communities are transformed. And the world gradually becomes a better place — more like God intended it to be. We can’t get to perfect, but we can be so much better. We can help so many more people experience the full, abundant, meaningful, purposeful, eternal life God created them to enjoy — today and forever.

Multiply Justice! wants to help people understand what social justice is — and what it isn’t. We want to show the world what justice looks like when it happens. We want people to realize they can create justice and show them how to do it. If we quit expecting someone else to solve the problem and get involved ourselves, we’ll find Jesus not only transforms individual lives, but whole communities, even entire nations.

Jesus makes the difference. You can help. Are you ready? Click on one of the links below and start exploring the possibilities!

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