Of late, there has been a confusion of terminology in the church by saying that the needy “deserve” our help. They do not and it is not Christian to say that they do. They need it. God demands that we give it. We should give it, as Christians and as human beings. However, we do not give it because they “deserve” it.
There is no such thing as “social justice.” There is only justice, which means receiving what you deserve. What you deserve is nothing. You came into this world naked and will leave it that way as well. The world owes you nothing. God owes you nothing.
However, God has chosen to give mercy to those who would receive it. Mercy is giving you a good thing, even though you do not deserve it. As Christians, we are to share God’s love and mercy through various means. We do not owe these things to anyone, but we freely give because God freely gave to us.
Helping the poor is not justice. Helping the poor is mercy. The poor, the sick, the hurting… these do not deserve our time, our money, or any of our resources. However, we share our resources in mercy because we were shown mercy. We show compassion because we are human beings. Mercy is necessary, but we should never confuse it with justice.
This is not just an argument over semantics. Words have power. Meanings matter. Justice and mercy are two separate concepts which should not be confused or conflated.