The ABC’s of Historic Christian Compassion:
1. Affiliation – Don’t help people whose family can help- instead help them get reconnected with their family. I Timothy 5:8
- Bonding – Compassion literally means “to suffer with.” We are called to give within the context of relationship.Personal giving, not impersonal giving.
3. Categorization – All with needs are not to be treated equal. Historically, Christians have placed the needy into such categories as “unable to assist themselves” (orphans, widows indeed, and handicapped), “able bodied and willing to work, and able bodied unwilling to work. The ones unwilling to work almost never received support. 2 Thessalonians 3:10
4. Discernment – This involved making sure people weren’t cheating the system
5. Employment – Even a low paying job was viewed as preferable to a handout
6. Freedom – Was not viewed as freedom to do whatever a person wanted, but freedom to be a responsible provider for yourself and your family through hard work. Christians helped people gain skills to make it in life, like sticking to a budget.
7. God – Ultimately it was deemed as useless to help a person with externals without the internal difference God makes through the new birth and being a faithful disciple (learner)
Taken from Ch. 4 of “Renewing American Compassion” by Marvin Olasky