The Poor Will Always Be With You


 

Rasvitak, a bombed-out department store left over from the war, in the center of downtown Mostar, where I live.
 Today I’m just going to punt. 

Here’s a great article that you should read about the situation of the poor. Everyone who thinks of themselves as a Christian should read it, I think. As the author says, there is one verse from Scripture in particular that seems like it should govern our thinking about relating to the poor, and it is found in the little book of James:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. — James 1:27

Here’s the way I’ve always always responded to this: am I really a Christian? 

Here’s the way I’ve always always responded to this: am I really a Christian? 

This is one of those serious verses of scripture that, once read, offers the reader no excuses. There will be no more playing games — this is serious business. If you didn’t know about it, you’d be excused, but now that you know, there will be no more playing games. This is no longer some feel-good religion — it has suddenly become serious, and if these results aren’t evident in your life, then you now must either change or intentionally deny the need to do so. 

And that’s where I — even as a person who left his country to work with youth and students abroad and share this message of hope and healing — start to question myself. I don’t want to look after people in their distress. It is messy. I don’t want to resist pollution by the world. It is hard. 

The action is difficult, but it is not the most disheartening. It is the desire. What does it mean that I would so rather worry about my own life than someone else’s? What’s wrong with me? 

What does it mean that I am more concerned about my own comfort than others’ distress?

As usual, I’m left with few answers, and many questions. 

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