Do you like chocolate or vanilla?
Do you like Chinese food or Italian?
Are you a Republican or a Democrat?
Do you believe in Jesus or don’t?
Are you pregnant or not?
Are you a citizen of this country or not?
Did you wash your hands or have you not?
You have to admit there are a lot of things in life where the choice is yes or no. The choice is are you or are you not? Have you or have you not? It’s black and white. It’s either on or off.
We are asked to do one thing or another.
But consider this…
Are there questions we are asked that are not one thing or the other?
I’ll give up an example and that is charity.
I was struck the other day when a person posted up on the Facebook a charitable site that collects donations to give to children in countries other than the United States. The sight admonished the reader to help children find fulfillment in life through a donation.
A follow up comment stated, “What about the children in this country? Why can’t you help them first?”
There have been and continues to be a list of individuals that have asked us to listen to the better angels above us. One of these voices intoned, “Help the stranger in every way as you in your time of need would want to be helped.”
Charity is not an either-or question. There are many parts of society as well as human interaction that have been confused to be an either-or question. It is not us versus them. It is not the people I love versus the people I don’t know.
The voice of charity. The voice of love asks each and every one of us to do both.
We are all asked to not only help those we know, but equally and at the same time, help those we don’t know.
That is the meaning of charity.
It asks each of us to come out of our comfort zone and enter into a larger world. Where you not only care for those you know and cherish but you add to that list those who are in need. Specifically to add to your list those people you don’t know.
It’s not a reductive list. You don’t get to subtract, divide people in need from your life.
It asks you to open your heart, your mind, your arms, your hand to bring those that are lost and on the edge of night into your care. Your home. Your heart. Your mind. Your arms.