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Faith Alive! | Commandments of Christ 7

7. Shut not your ear to the needy: relieve the afflicted

From issue 84 (May 2006)

RELIEVE the afflicted, help the needy – how do we do it, in what way and to whom? This concept is always on my conscience, I don’t know about yours. Where do I start?

Jesus sums up the Old Testament in two commands: the first is to love God with your whole being, and the second is to love your neighbour as yourself. (Mark 12:30,31). The second command must surely mean that we must do as much as we can for those who have little or are in need, as that is what we would want done for us.

“Do good to all”

Who is our neighbour anyway? We are told in Galatians 6:10: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers”. But I think sometimes we can take this a little too far and justify ourselves in not really helping others.

When I first started work a colleague needed a lift to Wolverhampton. I lived in Redditch – Wolverhampton was miles out of my way – so I kept quiet and waited until someone else offered her the lift she needed. Unconsciously I justified my silence by thinking that she wasn’t in the meeting so I didn’t need to help her – my time was too precious in doing things for the meeting. Afterwards I felt guilty for my response, but I felt that the attitude within me was entrenched in my very being. I was being so careful not to be ‘polluted’ by those around me that I had become numb to seeing the good I could do.

When Jesus was asked, “Who is my neighbour?”, he told the Parable of the Good Samaritan, showing that we need to do good, and not just do good but go out of our way, even for those who hate us.

Showing God’s love

Being unspotted from the world is good, but God did not intend us to live as monks. Whilst we are in this world we need to show God’s love through the kindness we can give to others. Jesus says that if a man asks us to walk one mile we should go two, and if someone wants to take our coat we are to give it and more besides. We should do above and beyond the call of duty. There is no better way than this to serve our Master, and to show others that we are different, that life has a better way. After all, that is what God has done for us. He hasn’t just provided forgiveness of our sins, he has called us to be brothers of Jesus, and adopted sons. Just think of that amazing grace. Surely we should be all the more eager, knowing this, to bend over backwards to help those around us, in any and every way.

Let us then try to do this, looking for the need (small or insignificant though it may be). In this way we can show God’s love to others and maybe we can touch their hearts, that they may wish to find out how God has touched ours.

Miranda Peel


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