Joshua at “In Search of the City” has written another excellent post, this one called “Where charity fails.” The point of his post is that the way of providing “charity” today often removes relationship which is one of the most important aspects of true charity.
Think about it… it’s possible to “give to those in need” today without actually knowing anyone who is in need. This nameless, faceless kind of giving is not what we read about in Scripture, and it’s not the way of love in Christ.
Here is a small snippet of Joshua’s post:
Because our primary need as human beings is not for stuff but for genuine relationships with other human beings.
In this regard, charity can unwittingly form an effective barrier to such relationships ever being formed. This is unfortunate, because one of the best things that can happen to a rich person is to become friends with a poor person. When the debilitating plight of ”those people” across town goes from being a vague social concern that you think about every now and then to the immediate, heart-felt struggle of someone you personally know and love, no longer can you coast through life with a smooth conscience while your neighbor wastes away in abject poverty.
Instead of “loving our neighbors” we assuage our conscience by sending in some money – either a small amount or a large amount – whatever it takes to feel better about ourselves. Or, instead of admitting our needs to our neighbors, we go to an agency or “ministry” in order to get our physical needs met.
This is how I commented on Joshua’s post:
It is difficult for either the rich man or the poor man to live in those relationships, but that’s the way God has created us. We are created to live dependent on him and interdependent on one another. But, for both the rich man and the poor man, living interdependently requires honesty and care for others that we rarely demonstrate.
I encourage you to jump over to Joshua’s post, take part in the discussion on this important topic, and consider whether or not you are following God in loving your neighbor…