Those words tumbled out of my mouth one day, betraying my frustration. Christianity’s "sudden" (re-) awakening to fix our world’s social ills. The anger directed toward those who are apparently not doing enough. The incessant asking for money for this cause or that country, this disenfranchised population or that disease.
(Full disclosure: I work in fundraising for a non-profit. Yes, the irony is not lost on me.)
Please do not misunderstand me. I don’t hate poor, sick, lonely and hungry people.
I just don’t like being made to feel guilty because I’m not doing the thing you’re doing.
I dislike the look of disdain you toss my way because I didn’t deposit a bunch of old coats or almost-expired beans into the bin.
I don’t like when ALL you talk about is ‘your cause’ without acknowledging that maybe I’m called to serve in a different way.
I suspect you feel the same way.
Believe me, I understand how hard it is to convince people how important your cause is. I understand you’re passionate and would give anything to see it succeed, to see lonely people, sick people, hungry people, lost people helped. After all, I do it for a living.
And I truly believe (most of the time), that zeal comes from a good heart. And it’s really important to communicate the needs out there.
But you gotta ask yourself…
Are you mad when people don’t respond the way you want them to?
Do you hope the person you ask will do exactly what God wants them to do? (even if its not helping you?)
Do you think less of people when they don’t do what you want, even if what you want is a “good thing?”
Can you respect their “cause” if it’s not the same as yours?
Are you spiritualizing your cause while at the same time not letting God get in all your business?
Yah, this post is for me. For the me that resents being asked. For the me that feels uncomfortable raising money. But while this post is FOR me, it’s not about me.
Both sides of generosity — giving and asking — are about experiencing God’s grace. The grace of humbling ourselves, recognizing our need, and asking for help. The grace of giving out of abundance, out of lack, and out of obedience.
I don’t know if social justice is “my thing.” But true justice, filled with grace and mercy—the kind I experience every day from my heavenly Father— needs to be woven into my theology, my heart and my life.