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Who is really poor, what does it mean to be missional to ‘those without’? Can we in our passions for mission forget the Great Commandment to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourself?

I was reading Robert Lupton’s book Compassion, Justice, and the Christian Life on the way to a week of neighborhood restoration ministry in the Bronx last weekend and I couldn’t help but be stirred and challenged by his reflections. Particularly what he says here;

“If you believe that either eternal bliss or eternal damnation awaits every person after death, then the most loving act is to present the truth of the gospel to as many people as possible and thus save them from everlasting destruction. It’s a compelling argument. The problem, of course, is that it leads toward viewing others as souls instead of people. And when we opt for rescuing souls over loving neighbors, compassionate acts can soon degenerate into evangelism techniques; pressing human needs depreciate in importance, and the spirit becomes the only thing worth caring about. Thus, the powerful leaven of unconditional, sacrificial love is diminished in society and the wounded are left lying beside the road. When we skip over the Great Commandment on the way to fulfilling the Great Commission, we do great harm to the authenticity of the faith…”

I repent Lord of treating the gospel like it was merely a matter of a new heaven and not a new earth…

I repent Lord of treating people as souls rather than persons in the midst of their own life circumstances that need redeeming as well…

I repent Lord of isolating the new creation work of Jesus to what one believes in their minds alone rather than what one experiences and embraces with all their life…

I repent Lord for offering your widows and orphane’s a tract while sending them back out into the cold and hard night of destitution, desease, and hunger…

I repent Lord for mistaking sympathy for witness, and the ‘Roman’s Road Conversion Speak’ as the full inacting of the gospel of grace…