Charity Starts at Home?

The amount of times I have had people say this to me. I hear this on social media and in other forums, it’s getting tiresome.   It’s used when I talk about helping refugees and asylum seekers, sadly Christian use it like scripture to me.
Can I ask what do we mean by this? Where is home? Your little house, your 2.5 children, your street, or your country?  What are you talking about?
I supposed I can almost forgive those using the phrase who would not claim to be Christians, or Followers of Jesus, but for those who make both those claims I do have a problem.
6901_11Jesus tells us what is commonly called the story of the Good Samaritan. Of course, at this time, Christ was walking around in Israel and no self respecting Jew would ever go to Samaria.  As the woman at the well said to Jesus when he asked for a drink of water, “you’re a Jew and you ask me for a drink of water, don’t you know that Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans”.   Of course she did not know that Jesus had previously said to his disciples, “I must go through Samaria” - an amazing statement in itself.
So let me counter that awful ‘charity start at home’ by reminding ourselves that Jesus said we are to love our neighbours and then follows that statement by asking us to decide who are our neighbours. The answer is not well pleasing to the people who never went to Samaria, as the neighbour turns out to be one of them.
In Africa I was speaking to a group and telling the story of the good Samaritan. I changed the story knowing that I was speaking to people of one particular tribe and I knew that they hated another tribe.  I made in my story the tribal member that helped a member of the hated tribe.  People came up to after the meeting and said that you should not have done that, people here hate the people of that tribe don’t you know. Maybe someone should have told Jesus that too.
Recently I had the privilege of going to a regular happening at a local Synagogue where well over a hundred refugees where being fed, clothed, and financed by the local congregation. There was every nationality and religion turning up for help.  I asked who is financing this and was told we are and at the moment its costing us about £30,000 a year.
The other very important point that I should make, especially to those who say they are Christians (follower of Jesus), is that Jesus commanded us to ‘love our enemies’.
So next time I say we need to be helping or caring for those pushed out by war (be it from Syria, Eritrea or wherever),  know that we have responsibility for our family.  The People across the waters or across the street.
Charity starts at home it’s just plain the wrong response.
Adrian Hawkes
W. 529
Edited Gena Areola

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