Do you know the difference between social justice and benevolence? One is society’s response to the needs of the less fortunate, the other is an individual’s response to someone in need. See below:
Social justice: justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.
Benevolence: the quality of being well meaning; kindness.
There are a growing number of churches today which are totally foregoing any kind of benevolence fund or assistance programs, many of them claiming that they don’t see any fruit from their work with the needy in the local church, i.e. attendance, salvations, or new members.
A minister friend of mine told me that he doesn’t believe that it is the responsibility of the church to engage in social justice matters which don’t result in people at least hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Regardless of your position on the local church body’s responsibility to dealing with the poor in your community, we can be sure that God hasn’t expunged us of our duty of benevolence to the less fortunate.
Some argue against giving to the poor because of the uncertainty of how they will use the resources we offer them. Other people are reluctant to give because they don’t know if the person is truly in need or just another abuser of the system.
Is it ok to give or not? It can be so hard to tell anymore!
So, what does the Bible tell us about giving to the poor?
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord,and he will repay him for his deed.Proverbs 19:17