This post will probably be a bit of a ramble…
I was studying the other day for our small group, which is going over Matthew 6. Actually I’m in charge of the discussion so I’m trying to make sure I have all my bases covered. Jesus talks about fasting in part of chapter 6 and one of the references I found was to Isaiah 58:3-12. The whole passage is quite amazing so I would highly recommend reading (and memorizing!) it all. Here is just a snippet:
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? (v. 6-7)
This strikes me for several reasons. One, it shows me that God really does care about all the nastiness that goes about in this world. Sometimes it’s so easy for me to get overwhelmed by all the evil I see and read about: children sold as sex slaves, hunger, sick children and mothers that could easily be cured, dads who don’t care about their kids, homeless people…the list goes on and on. But when I read this passage I know that God sees all these things too and that His heart breaks a million times more than mine does over the hurts these people suffer.
Also, I am reminded that in God these evil things can be changed. The chains of injustice can be loosed. The oppressed can be set free. The hungry can be fed.
And finally I am called to do these things more and more and more. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:27). When we involve ourselves in these things we are involving ourselves in the things of God. And trust me, I could spout off a hundred reasons right now why we shouldn’t get involved with the poor (The summary of that list being that it’s freakishly hard and emotionally draining) but there, everyday, is where I see God’s heart.