Christian Social Responsibility
In Matthew 25:31-46 on "The judgments of the nations", it is clearly stated that the basis of our judgment will be upon kindness and mercy.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Those who will be saved are those who have ministered to the disadvantaged, which Jesus identifies as service to him. Have you watched the movie Passion of the Christ and you feel the urge to help God on his suffering but you know that you can't do anything? Do you want to know where is God and help him now? Yes, you can. Just turn to your disadvantaged neighbour and there you have your God. Our God suffered on the cross and he shared the suffering of the people today. Are we going to help "God" on his suffering? God is with the poor, the naked, the thirsty, the oppressed and the persecuted. Whenever we serve them, we serve God (Matthew 25:40).
Our God is not neutral, he is biased
Yes, God is not neutral as he is always on the side of the poor and the oppressed, and for this reason the church need to be in solidarity with them. It is quite interesting that on the first Christmas night when Christ was born, God told the shepherds first (Luke 2:10-12). Whom would you tell first if you have some good news to share? Most would say that they will tell those who are closest and most important, such as family members and best friends. Unlike during the time of the patriarchs where shepherd was a noble occupation, in Christ's day shepherds stood at the bottom of the social ladder. God's promised messiah was born in Bethlehem and who were the first to be told the goods news? It was not the high priest nor the kings; it was the shepherds watching their flock during the night. People whom the world deems unimportant have been given such a prominence by God. Everyone matters to God, yes, but his heart and compassion is upon the neglected.
In his public life, Jesus showed his bias towards the needy. He sat with sinners and tax collectors; he even talked with prostitutes. Those people whom the world despises and oppresses are given the priority in Jesus' ministry on earth. Jesus says that there is a greater joy (or more joy) over one sheep that is lost compared to the ninety-nine. Yes, he said greater joy, not just joy; he is biased, isn't he? We have here Jesus who shows an extraordinary bias in favour of those who don't count.
Love your neighbour..., who is my neighbour?
Who is our neighbour that we ought to love and offer help? Just fellow Christians? In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), someone asked Jesus the question of who is his neighbour. In reply, Jesus told him a parable: a man was attacked by robbers and three persons passed by, a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan. The priest and the Levites passed by without helping this poor guy, whereas the Samaritan helped and took care of him. It's not a coincidence that Jesus chose the Samaritan in this parable. At that time, the Jews didn't see the Samaritan as their neighbour, they're outcasts and scum of the earth, people who are deemed unclean. But here in this story Jesus told us that our neighbour also includes those people who ignore us, hate us, separate themselves from us, and those we have the most difficulty loving. When Jesus heals ten men with leprosy (Luke 17:11-19), only one man come back to express his gratitude... and he was a Samaritan. Yes, Jesus minister to everyone including Samaritans, which means that we have to minister to everyone regardless of their racial, religious, or any background they have. Matthew 5:45-48 says:
... He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Christian social responsibility
Christians have social responsibility to people who are in needs. During Jesus' ministry on earth, he did not say to the sick people, "Never mind, things will be alright for you in heaven." Feeding of the 5000 occurred because he cared for the needs of the people; he did not say, "Man live not only from bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God, now you may leave and find your own food." No, he healed the sick, he cast away the evil spirit, he fed the hungry, he healed the blind people.
In Isaiah 58, God said that the people of Israel seek him out, with eagerness to know God's way (v. 2), and they even fast for God (v. 3). However, their fasting is filled with quarrels, strife, and exploitation of workers (v. 4). God revealed that true fasting is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the poor, and to set the oppressed free (v. 6-7). It's an irony that often happens today where many Christians are too comfortable behind the walls of the church worshiping God, oblivious to what is happening to other people outside the church. God's heart is not for the 99 sheep that has been flocked inside the church, but for the one sheep that is still lost outside the church.
There is this story that during a war in Strasburg, Germany, the church was totally destroyed but the statue of Christ that stood on the altar was almost unharmed except for the hands, which were missing. Instead of renovating the statue, they decided to put a plank that says: "I have no hands but yours" If we claim that we love God, what matters to him matters to us. If it is not the church, who else are going to champion the cause of God's neglected people?