How Are Mercy, Justice, Generosity, Poverty, and Brokenness Connected?

Jesus graffiti Christ Church NYC

During 2019, Christ Church NYC became a partner church with Hope for New York. I’ve been to the HFNY benefit, heard amazing stories about God’s love being shown in NYC and been involved in helping our church get connected.

HFNY focuses on mercy, justice, generosity, poverty and brokenness and I was asked to write something about that focus. I find those five words challenging. In the context of each of our lives they mean so many different things, but one thing does connect them all—and it’s that they impact each of us every day.

We all suffer from poverty and brokenness. Yours is different from mine, and mine is different from every person that the HFNY affiliates serve. And, we all struggle to overcome our own poverty and brokenness.

It’s our poverty and brokenness that deserves God’s judgment (and we will all ultimately face it) and justice. But is God’s justice the same as the earthly justice we see and experience every day? Where is the justice for people who go hungry? Where is the justice for people who have to sleep on the streets? Where is the justice for someone fleeing persecution who is denied entry to this country? We talk about people receiving their “just deserts” and we talk about “justice being served." But, how do we try to ensure God’s justice is seen here on earth?

By showing mercy and generosity, we can help each other overcome our poverty and brokenness. Each day is a struggle to show mercy and generosity as my own poverty and brokenness gets in the way. Fortunately, we have been provided with the Holy Spirit which helps us spread mercy and justice. It takes prayer and effort but to me, God’s mercy and generosity enables justice to shine through the darkness of a world afflicted with poverty and brokenness.

HFNY provides us all with opportunities to experience this beauty through serving others. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to serve at Don’t Walk By. It was a day where, even if just for one day, meals were served, beds were provided, medical care was available for those who desperately need it and those of us who are far more fortunate were able to spread God’s justice and love.


Dan Matheson is a lay leader at Christ Church NYC.