I hate responsibility but I love Jesus. That may sound cheesy but it’s true. I have been a Christian for 15 years and six months. But I cringe every time I hear someone saying I should do this or that.
Six months ago, I had the privilege of preaching in my church. More than 500 people sat through my 40-minute sermon. I prepared a 10-page manuscript walking through 2 Timothy titled, Partnership in the Gospel.
After the service, an elderly pastor walked up to me. “Edmond, that was an excellent sermon. I loved how you unpacked the book of Timothy.” I smiled; after all, I didn’t know how to answer.
“No, I really mean it,” my pastor said after sensing my skepticism. “The church needs more young people like you who are passionate for the Gospel.” I was honored but a few minutes later, I had a rude awakening.
While my pastor was still speaking, an elderly woman joined. I had known her for more than 12 years. We used to be members of the same small group. “That was a great message, Edmond. You make me proud, son.”
After my pastor left she added, “Son, I received a letter from a debt collector hired by the city council. He’s threatening to take away my home if I don’t pay up my housing and water bills.”
I didn’t ask how much she owed or when was the deadline. Instead, I silently complained about how the church neglected orphans and widows. It never occurred to me that I was the church. And I was neglecting a widow. Wasn’t she the one Christ called the least of these in Matthew 25?
How to hate responsibility but love Jesus
Caring for the poor is a distraction from the devil. As Christians, we should focus on preaching the Word to a perishing world. What benefit is it if I clothe you, feed you and support your dream yet you go to hell? Being a brother’s keeper is a spiritual, not physical issue, so I convince myself.
I surround myself with like-minded people. Bible scholars, preachers, and theologians who reinforce my beliefs that social justice is a communist coy. I resent people who talk about tribalism, systemic racism, and child welfare. We need to focus on preaching the Gospel, am I right?
I embrace any new Bible interpretation that absolves me of any responsibility. After all, doesn’t the Bible say you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free? I want to be free, I want to be free from worrying about the homeless in my city. And I don’t want anyone to guilt me about the 153 million orphans in the world.
After all, Christ said, “For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.” The poor are always there. Most poor people are lazy and ignorant of basic financial management skills. They should stop breeding babies like pigs. I love Jesus but I can’t stand people who are irresponsible.
I can’t be responsible for the sufferings of irresponsible people. The Bible says, “If anyone who doesn’t want to work should not eat.” Am I wrong then if I hate being guilted for refusing to help irresponsible people?
But God says I can’t love Jesus and hate responsibility
I pride myself for sacrificing for the Lord. The offerings I gave and the tithes I paid. I’m sure they gave me premium access to the throne of grace. And the number of sinners I reached with the Gospel ultimately grants me bonus points.
But the Lord rebukes me:
I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.
– Isaiah 1:11, 15
I am always tempted to agree with Michael J Kruger, “While deeds of mercy might be a natural response to the gospel, and a fruit of the gospel which rightly adorns the church, it should not be viewed as a co-equal with the mission to proclaim the gospel.” Or Voddie Baucham Jr who says social justice is a Marxist concept. But what is the blood, then?
The blood of the immigrants, widows, and orphans. And God insists:
- Learn to do good
- Seek justice
- Correct oppression
- Bring justice to the fatherless
- Plead the widow’s cause
Having become a social justice activist and practitioner, God then says (Isaiah 1:18), “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
And he concludes:
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
– Isaiah 1:19-20
Can I still hate responsibility and love Jesus?