You can look back in history and criticize Christians for failing to follow Jesus during some of the world's darkest moments, but today's Christians will also be judged according to their actions, and here are four moral questions facing today's Christians:
1. In the midst of a historically horrible refugee crisis, why didn't you actively pursue helping the poor, the destitute, and those in desperate need?
Matthew 25: 34-40: "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'
Jeremiah 22: 3-5: Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. For if you will indeed obey this word, then there shall enter the gates of this house kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their servants and their people. But if you will not obey these words, I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation.
Are followers of Jesus supposed to forsake compassion, sacrifice hospitality, and abandon love in favor of a political policy, national security, financial stability, and personal comfort? God is perfectly clear what the mandate is for helping those in need, and yet Christians continue to remain apathetic, passive, and even aggressively hostile toward the notion of aiding such victims.
How could you promote a gospel of hope, peace, joy, and love while simultaneously supporting restrictive policies preventing people from possibly obtaining these exact things by denying them entrance into a safe haven, and why would you go one step further by punitively deporting people back into circumstances of poverty and violence?
2. Why didn't you recognize and fight systemic racism and inequality?
James 2:9: But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
Proverbs 17:15: He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
1 John 2:9: Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.
For a faith that promotes the virtues of justice, equality, and fairness -- especially for those who are ostracized and mistreated -- why didn't you help the victims of systemic racism, abuse, and oppression?
How could you ignore -- and even criticize -- a large segment of humanity that's being victimized by authorities, institutionally incarcerated, professionally repressed, governmentally mistreated, educationally stifled, financially subjugated, and socially rejected?
Massive abuse on an epic scale was being systemically waged against people simply based on their race and gender, and what did you do? You had a chance to be on the forefront of a civil rights movement -- fueled by a righteous and holy God who despises corruption, unjust scales, exploitation, bigotry, and racism. Why didn't you desperately and passionately call upon God in such times, why didn't you publicly condemn such evil, and why didn't you act to right such blatant wrongs?
3. Why were you so supportive of national agendas associated with violence, destruction and death?
Matt. 26:52-54: Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?"
Psalm 11:5: The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence,
Since you represent a God that died for humanity, how could you actively participate in national agendas that so actively killed, hurt, and neglected humanity? You destroyed hundreds of thousands of lives through militaristic actions and wars that offered little peace, resolution, or stability.
You watched -- and even turned a blind eye -- as your governments violently intervened throughout the world and selfishly, fearfully, and hatefully supplied weapons, technology, and the means to miserably kill, eradicate, and create humanitarian tragedies across the globe on an unparalleled scale.
What moral gain was won? What specific need or goal was so vital that it necessitated such outrageous and rampant death? Church, Christians living in the year 2016, please answer these questions and explain yourselves.
4. Why did you crave martial, economic and political power when God has already warned you against putting faith in such foolish and temporary things?
Matthew 16:26: What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
1 Peter 2:11-12: Dear friends, I warn you as "temporary residents and foreigners" to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
Do you not trust in God's sovereignty that you must devote all of your time, energy, and resources into supporting a candidate, a political party, and making sure you're pursuing more wealth, fortune, protection, and influence?
You boasted of a countercultural gospel and yet fell into the same pitfalls of countless civilizations before you: a desire for carnal power, personal safety, comfort, luxury, fame, and wealth.
You divisively judged, shamed, alienated, hurt, slandered, and attacked others under the banner of "Christian morals," all in an effort to gain additional political clout and control.
Have you lost so must faith in God's promises that you've abandoned the ways of Jesus for the ways of a worldly empire? Are you so ashamed of identifying with a Divine God who died on a cross that you would rather align yourselves with oppressors, war-mongers, and corrupt rulers?
The good news is that these questions are still in the process of being answered, and God can still greatly be glorified by how we serve the world around us. By focusing on Christ and refusing to become co-opted by ulterior motives, modern Christianity can leave a mark on history that can show what millions of believers can do together in the name of Jesus -- helping, serving, protecting, and loving everyone!
Our world isn't without hope because Jesus is alive, and the Holy Spirit can empower us to be the change we're so desperately in need of. God help us.
This piece originally appeared on Sojourners.