Humility and Global Injustice
Five-year-old Faharoa had a benign tumour that made her lips large and purple. Six-year-old Elina had severe burns that welded her right arm to her body. These girls received surgery and physical therapy onboard a Mercy Ships hospital ship over several months. They also received love and acceptance from the nurses. Fingernails were painted, songs were sung and stories were read. And something wonderful happened!
The girls’ true personalities began to emerge. They giggled, they played, and they were healed. It was amazing to watch the newfound hope in their eyes.
We see a great challenge in today’s passage in James, to walk in humility in the light of injustice and inequality around our world. Compared to the extreme poverty of Faharoa or Elina, many of us are rich and privileged. When the Bible talks about ‘the rich’ in today’s world, this could mean anyone living in Western nations, such as the USA or many countries in Europe. This is often called the ‘Global North.’ If you live in the Global North, then it is likely that you have access to healthcare and safe surgery when you need it most. Tragically, 5 billion people do not have the same access to safe and affordable surgery when they need it … a staggering 2 out of 3 people globally.
If we are one of the ‘rich’ (the 1 in 3 with access to surgery), then what will we do with this privileged position? We cannot consider ourselves more deserving or somehow ‘higher’ than those who are living in poverty (Romans 12:3), and we should reflect on the message of scripture: God is a God of justice who takes up the cause of the poor, the outsider and the oppressed. Ultimately, our worldly wealth will not last or satisfy—we certainly cannot take it with us when we die. The only thing that outlasts us is our love for others (1 Corinthians 13:13) and the impact this makes in other’s lives. Our acts of mercy bring joy and music into the lives of others, like Faharoa and Elina.
We are called to join God in loving the poor, to use our riches to help bring justice and to build God’s Kingdom.
Call to action - How will you walk humbly and show acts of mercy and love? Together we can all do something to help change the odds for the 2 out of 3 people in our world who lack access to safe surgery. To get started and inspire, watch .