The Biblical Call is to Stand Up for Those in Need, Not Give Them Advice
How do you help those in need? Our default tendency seems to be to give advice. To give advice that is actually good is, of course, a good thing (although rare!). But the biblical call is for us to do much more than that. Consider:
“Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:17).
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3-4).
The way we typically act, it’s as though we take those passages to say “give advice to the weak and the fatherless; tell the afflicted that we live in a sinful world where injustice is rampant and they need to learn how to live with that; give kind words to the weak and the needy; tell people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.”
That is emphatically not what the Scripture says. Yet, we often live as if it is.
Words can be helpful. But, when you see those in need, those who have been denied justice, mistreated, fallen on hard times, or other such things, the biblical call is not to give advice and stop there. It is to listen to what the wrongs are, and then actually do something about them. “Correct oppression.” “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed” (Psalm 82:3-4, NIV).
Just people don’t just disagree with injustice. They do something about it.