Our world is hurting. It has been hurting since the day humanity alienated itself from its Creator through sin. Drought and famine, catastrophe and disaster, sickness and plague, war and strife, oppression and discrimination have haunted humankind ever since. And, although in our century, enormous advances have been made in science and technology, industry and productivity, communication and transportation, medicine and vaccines, the earth is still strewn with victims of society’s growing violence, even the horror of violence against the unborn.
Fortunately, God has not left us without testimony to his mercy and grace in the lives of those Christians who share themselves, their time and substance, to help life’s victims and the needy. For them, we give thanks to God.
Nonetheless, pain continues as a stark reality, even in our rich and favored land: the homeless in their despair, the unemployed in their defeat, broken families in their distress, minorities in their sense of alienation, ghetto dwellers in their plight, refugees in their 1oneliness, AIDS victims in their suffering, criminals in their hatred and prisoners in their isolation.
For others, the hurt is sometimes concealed behind brave facades: the grief of broken careers, unfulfilled aspirations and humiliating disappointments, the misery of unresolved guilt and abating shame, the chronic wounds of unrequited love and depressing loneliness, the gnawing ache of personal worthlessness and life’s emptiness and the trauma of meaninglessness and despondency of hopelessness.
Perhaps the most disturbing hurt of all is the tragic waste of children, victimized by emotional, physical and sexual abuse in their homes and communities, impoverished in hostile ghettos and duped into drug addition by unscrupulous dealers, poisoned with gang mentality and viciousness, polluted with and victimized by pornography, deprived of their moral, spiritual and Intellectual development by irreligious families and ineffective, secularized schools.
In the midst of such hurt and pain, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) affirms that God has not abandoned his fallen world nor left it without hope. Jesus Christ is our hope. “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). It is the good news of Jesus Christ, Savior and Lord, the hope of the world, to which we bear our witness.
We believe that the church of Christ provides the only means of bringing a lasting hope to our hurting world. When our churches have ignored those who are in need and have focused on their own well-being, we confess that we have denied the hope given to us. Where we have failed to touch our hurting world in Jesus’ name, we repent of our indifference and insensitivity, we pledge to renew our commitment to God, to each other and to those in need so that our churches will serve as effective channels of hope to distressed and suffering people.
In bringing hope to a hurting world, we must follow the example of Jesus, who fed the hungry, healed the sick, oared for children and reached out to the poor and neglected of his day. To do otherwise would deny the very faith that motivates us to share the good news of salvation. As the apostle James stated, “Faith, not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17).
Therefore, in Jesus’ name we must share with victims of disaster, provide for the needs of the poor, addresses the causes of poverty, support the unemployed and show compassion to those whose hearts ache and whose lives are burdensome. Because Jesus loves us, we must reach out to the victims of crime and oppression, racial discrimination and Injustice, child neglect and abuse. Because God commands us to do so, we must help care for the sick, the handicapped, disabled and the elderly.
Therefore, we give thanks to God for all he has given to us and commit ourselves to bringing even more spiritual and physical resources to our hurting world in the name of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, our eternal hope and the hope of the world.