Alive: 47 Days of Lent, Day 42

Alive: Tikkun olam

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

James 2:14-17 NIV

For many years, the tech giant Google had the phrase “Don’t be evil” as their corporate motto. At first, this seemed an honorable enough aim. However, it didn’t stand up to any greater scrutiny.

It isn’t enough to not be evil. It isn’t enough to not do any harm. We must actively, purposefully, deliberately seek to do good.

There is a Jewish concept – tikkun olam – that means literally “the repair of the world.” It has come to embody a life that is lived in pursuit of justice and compassion; one that is defined by acts of kindness, great and small.

A faith that ignores the current needs of the world is meaningless. If the church does not take deliberate action for the healing of the world, it is nothing but a clanging symbol – just noise. We all need to live with tikkun olam in our hearts.

God of repair,

Fill us with love – the love that leads to compassion. Fill us with faith – the faith that leads to action. And fill us with hope – the hope that leads to a better world for all. Amen.

Author: Gideon Heugh, Tearfund

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