Romans 12:13 - Helping the Needy

Romans 12:13 commands us to help those in need and 1 Peter 3:16 warns us about persecution.

It’s become increasingly popular to bash Christians, defining us by the worst examples. To endure this persecution, we must remember our true roots. 

One of many areas where Christianity has a proud heritage is in the area of benevolence, actively fighting poverty, slavery,(2) and world hunger (source).

“Graeco-Roman paganism had little to no philosophical basis for charity, and it wasn't until Christian concepts such as 'the equality of God's image-bearers' arrived that anything changed.” (source)

In fact, “the modern hospital system owes its existence to people of faith. Christians have been leaders in medicine and the building of hospitals.” (source)

God commands us to care first for the family of God.

Galatians 6:10: "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

Romans 12:13: "When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them."(1)

But He also commands us to care for the needy in our world.

Proverbs 19:17: "If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD— and he will repay you!"  

Our benevolence hasn't silenced our critics, but we continue doing good in Christ's name "so that those who speak maliciously against [our] good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander" (1 Peter 3:16).



(1) The last sentence in Romans 12:13 is "Always be eager to practice hospitality." We will discuss that in Wednesday's devotion. 

(2) Slavery is a great evil. Some people claim that the Bible supports it. Not true. To better understand the biblical teaching on slavery, check out one of these videos: 
More on slavery in the "beyond" section below. 

💙 Beyond 1-minute for those who want more 💙

Romans 12:13 commands us to help those in need and 1 Peter 3:16 warns us about persecution.
Some additional Scriptures about helping those in need

Hebrews 13:16: "Don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God."

1 John 3:17-18: "If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."

Matthew 25:34-36: "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'"

Some additional facts about slavery

In American history, some white Christians were slave owners, and some white churches made up heretical doctrines approving slavery. And the majority of white Christians who did not own slaves were complacent. It's likely that most of them did not agree with slavery, but they probably made excuses like these:

Some may have said they were personally opposed to slavery but didn't think it was there place to force their views on others. Some may have said we should keep it "safe and legal" (as if legality made it safe for slaves). Some may have excused it for economic reasons; some may have felt it was necessary in certain circumstances; some may have said we'd never make it illegal so we should focus on changing slave-owners' hearts. Many remained silent and did nothing. 

But some stood bravely on God's Word and fought it. "Most early abolitionists were white, religious Americans." (

Yes, there were white Christians and white churches which fought passionately against slavery in America, and they were instrumental in ending it.

If we blame all white Americans for slavery or racism, we're stereotyping an entire ethnic group by the worst examples. And that makes us racists.

During slavery, the white American church was very much like American churches today (and I'm talking about all ethnic groups in churches). Our modern slavery does more than enslave human beings, it kills them, and it's called abortion.

In the modern church (black, white, Asian, etc.), we see the same excuses I've listed above, but they are made for abortion instead of slavery. Just as history records the shameful complacency of the many white Christians toward slavery, history will one day record the shameful complacency of many Christians (from all ethnic backgrounds) in regard to abortion. I refuse to be part of that complacent majority. How about you?

If you want to see how some Christians justify their complacency, check out my review of a popular video: From Veggie Tales to Situational Ethics

Bible Love Notes

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