As followers of Jesus with strong moral convictions, we are often accused of being narrow-minded religious hypocrites, focusing on a select few social issues while ignoring the larger issues of human suffering. While this might be true for a minority among us, a substantial percentage of Christian conservatives continue to lead the world in acts of compassionate service.
For us, standing against transgender activism and fighting for the life of the unborn go hand in hand with feeding the poor and caring for the orphan. All are important to us.
Let me give you some cases in point.
I work closely with a church named Mercy Culture in Fort Worth, Texas.
At the same time, they distributed more than 100 million meals during the COVID crisis, filling cars with three meals a day for one month, without asking any questions. They are also active in rescuing women from human trafficking. And they are multi-racial in leadership, working together to stand against injustice.
This is what Christians do.
Another example would be the Love Life movement, which stands strongly against abortion. Some of my good friends have been involved in this ministry for years now, beginning in North Carolina before spreading to others states and nations.
But this is not simply an anti-abortion movement. It is pro-life in the fullest sense of the word.
So, for example, when you click on the menu option of, “Pregnant? Need help?” you are directed to www.real-choices.com, emblazoned with the words, “HOPE IS HERE.”
There, under the heading, “HELP IS HERE FOR YOU,” you find this:
We will provide you with a trained and confidential support person to understand your situation & connect you with resources...
• Pregnancy Care Resource Centers nationwide to provide help and resources
• Church support network with loving mentors to walk with you
• Baby shower given for you; often providing for your child’s needs up to 2 years
• Free 3D ultra-sound package
• Help in finding assistance for housing, food, clothing and employment, etc.
• Loving Families ready to adopt right away.
This is what it means to be pro-life. This is what Christians do.
Ironically, evangelical Christians who responded in large numbers to calls to adopt needy children have since been criticized for their actions, for various reasons. (So, we’re criticized if we don’t adopt enough needy children and then criticized when we adopt too many needy children.)
A critical article written in 2016 acknowledged that,
“when Haiti was rocked by a devastating 7.0-level earthquake, the Christian adoption movement became a full-blown cause. The movement threw its weight behind efforts to expedite U.S. visas for unaccompanied Haitian children, so they could leave their country and enter waiting U.S. homes. So many prospective adoptive families inquired about Haitian ‘earthquake orphans’ that Bethany Christian Services began diverting applicants to other countries like Ethiopia, which were then undergoing ‘adoption booms,’ thanks to a combination of poverty and lax laws.”
This is from the mouth of a critic.
A 2022 article, written from a less a critical angle, noted that because of the large response to calls to adopt needy babies and children, there is now “an annual Christian conference devoted to burned-out parents, and a new documentary has been released on desperate families who have extremely ill children.”
While the article raises legitimate concerns and highlights real needs, these concerns and needs are the result of compassionate Christians responding in large numbers to a call to do tangible good, even at great personal cost.
This is what Christians do. This is compassion in action. (Catholics, of course, have been active in adoption for many years, along with other, non-evangelical Christians.)
That’s why so many of the world’s largest relief organizations, including World Vision and Compassion International and Samaritan’s Purse are Christian-based. (Note that the same Franklin Graham who speaks out against homosexual practice and abortion is the same man whose primary efforts are devoted to Samaritan’s Purse.)
That’s why so many Christians have been involved with healthcare, to this very day. As one website notes,
“Over two millennia, Christian doctors and nurses, inspired by the example and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth, have been at the forefront of efforts to alleviate human suffering, cure disease, and advance knowledge and understanding.”
This is what Christians do.
To be sure, many non-Christians, including people without religious faith, are actively involved in caring for the poor and needy. But, to repeat, worldwide, Christians continue to lead the way, including many of graduates from our ministry school, who now serve the abandoned and poor and hurting in nations around the world.
That’s why I had no trouble responding to a critic who responded to one of my tweets which simply quoted the words of Jesus. (The tweet in question read: “These words of Jesus are both sobering and encouraging: ‘For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.’ [Luke 8:17]”)
For some reason, “Ape with Anxiety” responded to this tweet by asking, “He also said feed the poor, heal the sick and welcome strangers. How's that part going?”
I responded immediately, “With my friends and colleagues it's going wonderfully well, especially among the really poor and hurting. Thanks for asking! Would you [like] to contribute to our works of service and compassion?”
Indeed, many of my friends and colleagues, from inner-city pastors to missionaries in foreign countries, are on the front lines of showing their faith by their compassionate deeds.
This is what Christians do. We also stand against inequity and injustice today, just as the Christians abolitionists did in the 19th century.
It’s not either-or. It’s both-and.
It is part and parcel of following Jesus, who called for both personal holiness and for compassionate service and who commissioned us to be both salt (a moral conscience) and light (doers of good works; see Matthew 5:13-16).
Let us live our faith holistically. That’s what Christians do.