Charity, Social Justice or Both?

I’m currently reading Mobilizing Hope by Adam Taylor (great book btw).  As I was reading, the discussion on charity and social justice struck me.

In it, Taylor writes,

The Bible is clear that compassion is part of our calling as the people of God, but advancing justice is also part of our calling and clearly distinct in its character.  Biblical justice seeks to redress the root causes behind people’s need and pain.  Biblical justice continues to ask the question “why” until these root causes are unearthed and addressed.  Charity often provides a short-term fix by helping people with their immediate needs, yet it often fails to remove the source of exploitation or oppression that violated their dignity and keeps them in need. (55)

Taylor goes on to say,

Unfortunately justice and compassion often get pitted against each other, creating a false choice between them…charity and justice reinforce each other.  Seeking justice without an orientation of charity can devolve into self-righteousness and cultural imperialism…charity without a commitment to justice is a palliative but almost never a cure.  At worst, charity without a commitment to justice can turn into paternalism and lead to an unhealthy cycle of dependency. (56-58)

Feel free to share your thoughts.


One thought on “Charity, Social Justice or Both?

  1. Pingback: Social justice for all « Dr Ko Ko Gyi’s Blog

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