Christian Social Responsibility Begins at Home


1Tim. 5:8 And whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.


This was a simple observation, for the world was scrutinizing the new believers . Their actions had to speak louder than their words. While they cried out for social responsibility within the community of faith, if they failed to care for their own relatives their testimony was void. 


The great command is to love God and love neighbor. Christian witness is not in the words we speak, but the ways in which we live our lives. Therefore, the love of God is revealed by the ways in which you love your neighbor, and your closest neighbor is your own family. The consequences are disastrous for those Christians who fail to care for their own family members, for Christian social responsibility begins at home. 

 Chrysostom writes:

And what will be said, if instructing others, someone neglects his own family, though he has greater capacities and a higher obligation to benefit those near? Will it not be said: “Aha! These ‘Christians’ are affectionate indeed, who neglect their own relatives!” “He is worse than an infidel.” So what? One who does not benefit those far away benefits even less those nearer. What is meant is this: The law of God and of nature is violated by him who does not provide for his own family. (Homilies on 1 Timothy 14) 

These are strong words to be considered from this man, who was a giant of the faith. Chrysostom literally believes that the law of God is violated if we do not care, or provide for our own family. John Wesley felt that each person had their own motivation for the ways in which they handled their personal finances. Some saved far too much money because of their own insecurities. They were always afraid of not having enough for themselves and were willing to go to hell as a result; refusing to help their family members in need, and looking worse than an unbeliever. 

In sad situations, like divorce, there can often be an argument over who will be responsible for the children. Any parent who refuses to support their child fits the category of this scripture. That is worse than an infidel. Children who refuse to help their elderly parents, are worse than unbelievers. These are heavy and serious statements, but they really do reflect on the state of our spiritual well-being. Therefore, we must embrace the understanding that, fulfilling the great command of God begins at home. 


Lord, may we, as your people, take our social responsibility seriously and shine as witness for you.  Amen. 


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