One of the key principles of Barnabas Aid is found in Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
The apostle tells the Galatian believers, “as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10).
Our principle of prioritising help to those of “the family of believers” – or “the household of faith” (KJV) – is therefore Scriptural. It also has two main benefits.
Firstly, without a commitment to do good first and foremost to our brothers and sisters, believers in non-Christian contexts will often be without the help they need.
In Myanmar, a programme of aid organised by ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is being administered on the ground by that country’s military government. As such, the Christian-majority Chin people of western Myanmar – thousands of whom have been displaced from their homes by perpetual military violence – are being excluded from receiving this internationally funded aid.
Barnabas Aid is also aware that in Sri Lanka – currently facing, according to international experts, “a full-blown humanitarian emergency” – Christians are often denied aid by religious extremists.
We have also raised the issue of Christian refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria facing discrimination when seeking safety in the West.
Secondly, our loving care and practical support for our global family of brothers and sisters is a witness to the world of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Remember the “new command” given by the Lord to His followers: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-5).
The Bible certainly teaches that we should do good to all. The Lord instructs us, “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:38) – and here, as in the Parable of Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), “your neighbour” is anyone and everyone you come across or can possibly help, regardless of their religion or belief.
Yet while there are many excellent charities, aid agencies and Christian ministries that demonstrate love for neighbour, there are comparatively few that focus on “the family of believers”.
We therefore believe that in directing our aid, funds and practical support to other Christians we are obeying the teaching of Scripture, supporting Christians who would otherwise be without the help they need, and being a witness to the world of the love God’s people have for one another.