Why should I show compassion for the justice needs of poor neighbors?

poor neighbors

Have you heard of compassion fatigue? The Oxford Languages Dictionary defines it as “indifference to charitable appeals on behalf of those who are suffering, experienced as a result of the frequency or number of such appeals.” For many, COVID has created compassion fatigue.

Let us not grow weary in doing good

COVID brought to the forefront the needs of our poor and vulnerable neighbors. At first, communities rallied around food drives and support. Government and private aid were generously administered. But the requests kept coming.  At the same time, the pandemic wears you down as daily life remains disrupted even as the promise of a vaccine looms.  Honestly, it is tiring.

“So let’s not get tired of doing good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone – especially those in the family of faith.”  Gal. 6:9-10.

Paul’s words are nice, but why should I show compassion for the justice needs of poor neighbors?

Reaping a harvest of blessing

Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35. We do not give to receive a blessing but giving brings blessing. Why? Because giving is not natural.  It is your money, and you should be able to spend it on yourself. Except money isn’t yours. The Bible teaches everything we have belongs to God and He has graciously entrusted certain resources to you. If you use those resources to support what He cares about, then you please God. And pleasing God brings blessing.

Identifying with the poor

Blessing comes when we pursue what God cares about. God cares about the poor. Jesus set aside everything to become poor. He had compassion for the poor and invites us to follow His example.  Jesus told a story of an injured man who was poor and vulnerable on the Jericho road. Luke 10: 25-37. He asked you to identify with the man and understand you are a series of circumstances from being on that road.

A few years ago, a Judge asked me to help a family because her heart went out to them. They were the picture of a normal middle-class family living in a nice new home the husband helped build. But one morning the wife was having her morning coffee when the cup slipped from her hand. She sensed the strangeness of it as a stroke crippled her. Hearing his wife was at the hospital, the husband left work. While driving to the hospital a drunk driver crossed the middle line and hit him head-on breaking his back and multiple bones that left him paralyzed.

These are the unseen robbers that could leave any of us poor and vulnerable. If you have been spared life circumstances, praise God! His grace should make you just. You should be filled with gratitude that compels you to respond generously to the needs of others.

Whenever we have the opportunity

Everything you have comes from God who generously gives. Maybe you have not experienced material poverty, but you were once poor – bankrupt in fact. All of us through our choices and circumstances sin. Yet God in His mercy saves. He shows compassion and love toward you so you can show compassion and love for others.

True saving faith will express itself in generous love toward those in need. Jesus said whatever we do for one of the least of these we do for him. Mt. 25:40. Whenever we have the opportunity we should gladly share our time, talents, and resources with everyone – especially those in the family of faith.

But won’t my support simply enable dependency?

I hope so. I hope your support makes someone dependent on God. The gift is from Him. Give to ministries that put Him first. Support those who empower vulnerable neighbors recognizing them as fellow image-bearers. Help those who understand the needs of vulnerable neighbors.

poor neighbors

For example, did you know the largest poverty demographic in America is a single mom with a child under the age of six? That more than one-third of American’s experience a season of poverty but less than 3% are chronically poor? Did you know that 150 million civil legal issues threaten to push one into deeper poverty every year? That simple advice and direction can prevent a significant percentage of these issues?

I encourage you to watch this video and share it with friends. These are our neighbors, and they need our help. If you received a stimulus check that you don’t really need, then consider giving to support gospel justice for those in need.

Good will come to those who are generous

The Bible is clear that blessing comes when you reflect our generous God and support His work. God cares about justice. Justice is the foundation of His throne. God cares about the poor. And He cares about the lost. Support the work of gospel justice for the poor and vulnerable. When you do know that “Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.”  Ps. 112:5.