Christians err when they fall into the trap of believing that charity should be based on whether those in need deserve help or not, contends Rachel Johnson, writing at Patheos.com. This is important to consider as we debate public policy on poverty issues. In a piece titled “Jesus Doesn’t Care or Why Liberals Need Christ,” she writes:
Christian voices have failed to challenge head on the lie that human value is based on a system of merit.
This is what I mean. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen debates over policy issues come down to a competition between the values of compassion (championed by progressives) vs personal responsibility (popular among conservatives). And inevitably when this happens, Jesus will be invoked and biblical arguments will be made on both sides. Here’s the problem, theologically there is no debate. This is a classic example of political frameworks being grafted on to theological discussions, because the simple fact is, Jesus never set personal responsibility has a pre-condition for extending compassion or charity.
As Christians, it does not matter if a person deserves our help or not. We are commanded to give it, no matter what. Jesus did not say, “whatever you’ve done for the least of these who deserve help, you’ve done for me.” He did not command, “feed my sheep who are hungry through no fault of their own.” Do. Love. Serve. No qualifications, no exceptions. (Do you know who did say we should only love those who deserve it? Ayn Rand). The reason we do this is because every single person bears the image and likeness of God. We don’t love people because of what they have or haven’t done; we love the Christ that is within them.
Read her full post here.