By: Meng Yee; Malaysiakini
Aug 8, 11
“I volunteer as a chairperson for the Social Concern Ministry of our church.
We do a considerable amount of charitable work which includes a toy library and family support for families with special needs children.
We also do free medical camps where we go into urban poor communities to provide medical consultations and medicines to those who require treatment.
In all of these we work with various NGOs, offices of state assemblypersons, and community leaders to provide various community services and support regardless of race and religion.
How can we, after all, distinguish by race and religion when doing community work.
Unfortunately, charitable work can be misconstrued as having strings attached. Some may feel that Christians try to proselytise and convert the beneficiaries.
I will explain why this is not true.
For the Christians, doing charitable work, is not for a better afterlife or for salvation or for going to heaven, because the Bible clearly says that good works are not able to save us.
So why then do Christians engage with the community in doing good works and in providing services to the community?
Christians are commanded by Christ not to forget the poor, the widows, and the marginalised among us.
Jesus himself summarised the 10 commandments to these two statements; “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind” and the second, “Love your neighbour as yourself”.
This means to love tangibly by caring for and meeting the needs of those in our community. This contributes to the society we, as Christians, live in.
The reason why Christians believe they are able to do this is because of the grace of God; the forgiveness and love which they have received freely from Christ.
In turn they are able to share this love with others around them.
Whether the beneficiaries of these charitable works see this as enticement or not is totally up to them and they have the right to receive or ignore such charity.
If they are interested or attracted by the faith, it is also entirely between them and God. Christians are called to love and charity and this is an age old belief practiced by Christians.
It is more commonly known as agape meaning Christian love for others corresponding to God’s love for mankind.
As such the latest debacle involving a Christian church accused of proselytising will not deter Christians from serving and loving our community we live in.
Serving the poor and the marginalised in our community is part of the Christian faith.”