"Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphans. Fight for the rights of widows." ~ Isaiah 1:17 NIV
The idea of philanthropy in my eyes is not to pass out mere handouts, but rather to equip those who need a boost. There's a difference between giving an unemployed widow a few food items that are soon exhausted as opposed to giving her farm tools and assisting her to clear out a piece of land to farm or seed funds to start a small business. But sometimes the poor just need handouts because I realize that in some cases, poverty becomes so deep seethed that the poor are ill equipped to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Especially where diseases and health challenges are combined, poverty because a lethal booby trap with almost no avenue of escape.
Over the last week however, I have been participating in a Bible Study written by a group of women under the moniker "She Reads Truth," on the issue of justice. The idea of the recent study was approaching challenges in our world from the view of seeking justice for the oppressed. As the study concludes today, I was suspended in thought by this quote: "If the longing for justice in our hearts does not translate to our hands, we do not fully grasp the passion of our God." So, there in a nutshell is the awareness that we cannot think about justice and poverty and oppression without doing something active to fix the problems in our world. If we truly seek God's heart and are pursuing after doing what is right we cannot be passive about the issues that trouble our world. Even if we do not have an active faith or choose not to believe in God our humanity should move us to do something, say something and refuse to be passive about unnecessary suffering in our world.
Thus, the idea of fighting poverty is about seeking justice for the oppressed. If we truly care about those who are destitute we should want to solve their problems because in doing so we are seeking justice for them. So, whom are you going to seek justice for? The millions of sexual slaves held captive around the world, victims of bullying, women who are dying from lack of access to maternal care in their child bearing years? Sometimes we don't have to look too far to seek justice. We often do not have to board a flight, for those who need justice sometimes are just next door in our neighborhoods, in our communities and on our jobs.