Last Saturday, I was invited to speak at a Habitat for Humanity house dedication here in Lafayette. It made me think about why it is we show compassion as believers. Many non-Christians participate in charitable activities and organizations. Yet God does not accept these works; rather, He says that all these works which we see as righteous are “like a menstrual rag” in His sight (Isaiah 64:6, NET). And yes, I did say that partly to gross you out.
Ultimately, it is wrong to show compassion merely for compassion’s sake. Rather, it should be done for the glory of God. Our goal in showing kindness and mercy toward others is to give a walking, talking example of what God looks like. Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
In the case of Habitat for Humanity, we can see how God is the Re-creator. Just as the people who work for this organization help give others a new opportunity and a chance to start over by building them a house, so God does the same for us. In Revelation 21:5, He says of the new heavens and the new earth, “Behold, I am making all things new.” There will be no more “mourning nor crying nor pain” (v. 4), and God will dwell here with us as our God. As His children, we look forward to this with joy.
But making all things new is such a part of God’s nature that He can’t wait until then! He’s already begun in our own hearts. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). We are already new, and we are already “being transformed…from one degree of glory to another” (3:18). We can build houses or give money to the poor, helping them out of their poverty and despair, but only God can make their hearts new.
He’s already done it with us.