By Mike Hess
Biblically minded Christians should be the most caring people in the world. But the care we demonstrate goes well beyond a simple humanitarian or philanthropic concern. It should come from hearts that have personally experienced God’s compassion and care through faith in Jesus Christ. The love of Christ compels us to compassionately love those who are suffering.
The reason we should display God’s compassionate heart to others stems from our desire to please our Heavenly Father. Scripture shows us a portrait of Jesus as a loving and compassionate Savior, but it also explains the motivation behind His actions: “for I [Jesus] always do the things that are pleasing to Him [God the Father]” (John 8:29, NASB).
We Christians should care about others because our hearts have been transformed so that, not only are our actions changed, but our motivations are as well. We desire to help needy people who are sick, panic stricken, impoverished, and grieving because we want to exalt the One Who has shown so much love and compassion to us.
Here are four reasons Christians should sincerely care about the current COVID-19 crisis:
- We care because we love our neighbors. The second greatest commandment, according to Jesus, is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). Notice the command does not say to “love yourself.” The fact that we naturally love ourselves is already assumed. Jesus teaches that in the same way we care, feed, and nurture ourselves, we should also endeavor to care, feed, and nurture the people God has brought into our lives. The transformative power of the gospel moves us from an attitude of self-love to one of loving God supremely and loving others sacrificially. This means there should be a deep concern in our hearts when others are suffering. The same health that we desire for ourselves, we should want others to have. When we prioritize our love for God, we will also prioritize our love and care for our neighbors.
- We care because we cherish life. Scripture places an incredibly high value on human life—from the very moment of conception to the last dying breath (Ps. 139:13–16). Christians should likewise cherish and guard the sanctity of human life, which motivates us to not only speak out against the barbaric dismemberment of unborn children, but also against the devaluing of the lives of the elderly, mentally handicapped, or terminally ill. We care about life because God is the Creator of all life from conception to death. Therefore, we see the value of helping those who are suffering physically. We’re moved with compassion when others suffer through sickness. We care about life because we know and worship the Creator of all life. And He tells us that every human being is created in His image.
- We care because of the value of human souls. The Bible is an amazingly honest book. It warns us about the brevity of life compared to eternity (James 4:14). It teaches that death is an inescapable reality for every living person (Heb. 9:27). Every human being, without exception, will spend eternity somewhere. We care about those suffering from any kind of incurable disease because we care deeply about the condition of their souls. Caring for people’s physical needs can provide great temporary relief, but our message—the gospel—has ramifications that extend far beyond the physical life we experience now, to eternity. Those who have been eternally saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone know a security that no earthly vaccination or cure can ever give. So we care about people because we’re concerned about where they will spend eternity after they’ve taken their last breath.
- We care because we know that our groans will turn to glory. Something just doesn’t seem right with the world. The suffering, pain, sorrow, grief, and death that are common to all human experience indicate to us that this just isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. The Bible affirms this impression and teaches us that one day there will be no more disease, death, or sorrow (Rev. 21:3–4). All of creation is presently suffering from the Fall (Rom. 8:21–23), and every believer in Christ inwardly “groans” for the redemption of our world and the redemption of our bodies. Someday we will receive glorified bodies—raised in the likeness of Jesus’ resurrected body—that will not need medication, surgeries, vitamins, insulin shots, chemotherapy, or funeral coffins. Jesus will return for His church and will take our “lowly” bodies, prone as they are to sickness and pain, and He will gloriously raise up and transform them “by the power that enables him to subject everything to himself” (Phil. 3:21, CSB).
We Christians must care for others because God has cared so much for us. We care because of the truth that has been revealed to us, a truth that looks beyond the present realities of temporary pain and physical suffering, that sees no dire situation as hopeless because we have placed our hope in a great and mighty God (Ps. 146:5). So instead of allowing fear and panic to control our hearts, let’s fixate on Jesus Christ and mobilize to provide care, compassion and prayer, because God has given so much love and compassion to us. We care for others because we know what it is to be loved.
Mike Hess serves as national representative of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches.