Jesus is crystal clear about his principles for personal outreach - for the mercy, compassion and service we are to extend on his behalf:
Today’s buzz word is social justice, but simply put, it’s care for your neighbor, on the cul-de-sac or the neighboring continent. I’ve taken Biblical standards for loving your neighbor from the Old and New Testaments and woven them into a prayer:
Dear God, I take note of a most compelling question that comes just four chapters into Genesis - not a command or a law - but a question:
“Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9
It’s Cain’s feeble attempt to duck responsibility for his brother, but intuitively, we know the answer is “Yes, I am my brother’s keeper.” Brand our hearts, Lord, with your words from Zechariah:
Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor.
Father, we can be pretty “choosey” when it comes to the aliens and poor people we might be inclined to assist. I pray that we show greater mercy and compassion…as the 82nd Psalm directs:
Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy… Psalm 82:3-4
Lord Christ, you have given us a clear, concise command in:
Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39
Let our love be transformed from sentiment into action - into deeds, good works, service - as James so eloquently set the standard:
Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead…I will show you my faith by what I do. James 2:17-18
All this we humbly pray in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.