Why Our Church Refuses to Feed the Hungry for the Sake of Social Justice

Our church refuses to feed the hungry in the name of ‘Social Justice.’ We would never in a million, quintillion years even think about feeding hungry people for the sake of Social Justice.

God forbid.

However, we feed the hungry. In fact, we probably feed more hungry people than any other organization in our county and certainly feed more hungry people than any church within a hundred (or more) miles. Even in our rural Montana county, the Fellowship Baptist Church in Sidney distributed food to 306 individual families with 6,607 lbs of food given away during just a few months in 2018 (according to our last report).

We’ve been feeding the hungry since the Fellowship Food Pantry began in 2008. Our facility is also an Emergency Warming Station for the Red Cross and local emergency services. We spend thousands of dollars per year on things like gasoline for stranded motorists, bus tickets for people to get home, hotel rooms for the transient or homeless, and other needs. The church has been recognized by the Governor of Montana for our work and recently, the local newspaper wrote about our efforts.

Much of what is provided is purchased by funds given in the offering plate and purchased every six weeks. Our volunteers hand it out nightly. Everyone who comes to get food receives a free Bible and some Gospel tracts.

But, I repeat, we refuse to feed the hungry in the name of ‘Social Justice.’ Again, may God forbid.

Giving food to the hungry is not “justice” because the people who receive the Lord’s help through our church aren’t entitled to assistance. Nothing we give away is earned.

Justice is about receiving what you are due.

Justice is both positive and negative. Punishing a criminal is just because it’s giving them what they deserve. Or put positively, paying a man his fair wages is just because it’s what he deserves.

Helping the impoverished is not justice, because there is no divine or legal principle that says someone is entitled to your goods or services. In fact, if someone thinks they are entitled to your goods or services – and takes it – the Bible would call it theft under the 8th Commandment.

What we provide is not justice, but is mercy.

noun1.compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone…

We show mercy because we love God, and therefore, we love the work of his hands and particularly, we love human beings made in his image. We do not show mercy because someone is entitled to it (for then it would be justice), but because God tells us in the Bible to be merciful.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. – Matthew 5:7

When you hand out food every day to the hungry, you see the damage that is done to people when they suffer under an entitlement complex. Not only are they sometimes rude and often ungrateful (we serve them anyway), an entitlement complex makes an individual less ambitious, less productive, and more likely to remain in their woeful estate.

To conflate justice with mercy serves to empower entitlement, which is the very opposite of what the impoverished need if they are to better themselves.

Likewise, what we preach regarding the Gospel is unnecessarily hindered by conflating justice and mercy. It is vital that people understand that they are not victims, but to God, they are the victimizers. People are not deserving of mercy, but judgment. Sin is what makes us worthy of death, not reward. And the solution to God’s judgment for us was Christ, who for believers, was the object of God’s judgment on the cross.

We pray the civil magistrate does justice by punishing the wicked and protecting the rights endowed to us by our Creator. In the meantime, we’ll be doing the work of the church, which is to do mercy.

[Contributed by JD Hall]

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