Why I'm not Such a Noisy Activist Anymore
I was sorely mistaken.
People don't like to be preached at by anyone but especially someone who has only spent a couple of years doing "something".
I also started to realize, after doing it for a while and researching books and information from several real experts on the subjects of social justice, that I was actually doing a lot of it wrong.
Once I started looking hard at how Jesus did social justice and how those around me, whom I thought were doing it like Jesus did it, I saw something different. I saw quiet daily living out Matthew 25. They didn't sound the trumpet every time they "served" people. There was no exaggerated number count handed in to their superiors to make their ministry look effective. There was just the constant doing, living, being Jesus. I had to watch them, they didn't seek me out to tell me.
Sure, there are vocal activist, but when I think about the ones I respect most, Bono, Mother Theresa, Shane Claiborne, they aren't the ones telling us what they are doing and how to live and screaming at us for not doing something, they are the ones who tell us the stories of the least of these and tell their stories from a heart fully in love with those hurting people. Mostly their activism is active in deeds, they live it and when they talk, they talk about the people they love, which is the hurting, the poor, the ones Jesus talked about in Matthew 25. They don't hold up a black baby for a photo op to make themselves feel good about a once a year outreach, they don't broadcast their deeds, instead they just do them and tell you how you can be a part if you ask.
I think about one time when someone told me "oh, that inner city campus is the heart of that church" and I replied with, "no, if it was the heart of the church it would be getting more money spent on it and actually meeting the needs of the poor that come there. The heart of that church is where the most money is spent." Which in that case was elaborate decor and events to draw in the wealthy at the main campus. We show what we value by where we put our treasure, our money, our time. Not the place we talk about the most and use to sell our church or life to others.
When Jesus said, Don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing (Matt 6:3) I think he said it because he knew we would always be tempted to use our good deeds to make ourselves look better. I know I did for a long time. It wasn't what motivated me but it served my purpose. We can love serving so much that we talk about it all the time but we are not to love serving, we are to love those we serve. According to Jesus they are him and we are him. Which changes everything.