One thing that happens to you when you become a Christian is that you grow in compassion for needy people. That is generally not true of other belief systems that tend to view people’s problems as retribution for their wrong actions or as a natural product of the survival of the fittest. Christian compassion and doing good in Christ’s name are unique to Christ-followers.
Since becoming a Christian, I have had many opportunities to be involved in Christian responses to needs. I have supported the drilling of water wells in places where people have inadequate or contaminated water. Another area has been funding medical outreaches to people who have little or no medical care available. Christian compassion involves helping needy people regardless of the cause.
Are the people benefiting from this help Christians? In most cases, they are not. So how do we justify spending large amounts of money on people who may not be believers and who may have caused their own problems by how they have lived? The classic response to this question is to look at what Jesus Christ did.
In Matthew 14 and 15 and Mark 6, we see situations in which Jesus fed thousands of people. You might say that the purpose of these miracles was to demonstrate to the people that Jesus had the power of God. But we should not overlook the words telling us that Jesus had compassion on the people and addressed their hunger. Were all of the people Jesus fed perfect people? I would suggest that many of those people had come to hear Jesus out of curiosity and skepticism. Some were motivated by wanting a solution to a problem they had. They were not people wanting to become disciples. In all probability, many of them were people steeped in sin.
Jesus doesn’t ask any questions. He didn’t refuse food to anyone because they were bad or had evil motives. Jesus addressed a need because He has compassion for all humans. So we today express Christian compassion as we address human needs because we care about people. Unlike other human belief systems, Christianity overflows with caring and compassion. We express it by massive humanitarian aid to people on every continent and in every situation.
Many people are Christians today because they saw what Christianity does and how it overflows with compassion and caring. Galatians 6:10 tells all Christians to do good to everyone. The opportunities to do that are greater today than at any time in human history.
— John N. Clayton © 2021