“Learn to do good.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows.”
The Tim Hughes song God of Justice has been on my heart for a few weeks now, particularly the Chorus “We must go, live to feed the hungry, stand beside the broken, we must go”
In the first of a three part series on this song, I’m going to take a look at what it means for us to stand beside the broken, to ‘help the oppressed’.
I feel that there are 3 forms of standing beside the broken.
Firstly there is standing beside fellow Christians who are being broken by hardship or trials. (NB Credit for this section should go to Dave Gilkinson)
We need to support them in their hard time, get along side them, ask them how things are, and not be content if they try to brush things off with a smile and a “Fine thanks, you?” We need to go deeper in our friendship with fellow Christians, and not be afraid to ask the harder questions, to provide a shoulder for people who are struggling to lead on.
If you are going through a hard time in your walk with God, you would appreciate it I’m sure if you knew your friends would be there for you, supporting you. So offer that support to others around you.
Then there’s the broken in your day to day life. The guy on the bus that no-one talks to. The girl eating her lunch by herself. The people who are afraid of not being accepted if they don’t conform to what others accept. It is our duty as Christians to be seen to care for these people, and to challenge others when they don’t care.
The central message of Christianity is love. If we are not showing love to these people how can we expect non-believers to? And how can we expect non-believers to take us seriously when we tell them that God loves everyone if we, His children, are unwilling to do likewise?
Also, there’s the warning of Matthew 25 that whenever we turn our back on one of these broken souls, it’s Jesus we are turning our back on.
(Check out this music video http://youtube.com/watch?v=Scns3AVmBOE which sums that up in a pretty awesome manner – The Twenty-First Time by Monk and Neagle)
Finally there’s the global level. As Christians we need to do our all to ‘help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans (and) fight for the rights of widows.’
At the moment the biggest cause of orphans is HIV/AIDS. So if we are serious about standing beside the broken, defending the cause of orphans, that means we need to do something big about HIV. We need to stop this disease which is predicted to cause another 5 million orphans by 2010.
What can we do? Just because we are young doesn’t mean we can’t do big things. Firstly we can pray. And when we pray, big things will happen. And we can challenge people to take more interest. We can challenge people to care about more than themselves. If we are seen to be interested about the wellbeing of others, people will take note, and even influenced by that.
The most important thing to do is to do something. It is no use making excuses like you’re too young, or you don’t have enough time. They won’t bear much weight with God. Even if its just something small like putting a few pounds in a charity box, it still helps. You can’t expect to suddenly start doing huge wonderful things overnight. It has to build up from smaller things, otherwise the right attitude won’t be there.
So what ever you do this week, do something to stand beside the broken, and show them that you care, and more importantly, God cares.