Psalm 41:1 (A psalm by David for the music leader.) You, LORD God, bless everyone who cares for the poor, and you rescue those people in times of trouble.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Blessed are those who care for the poor
There are so many Christians that object to social justice and call it socialism disguised; They say that it is merely a term for taking wealth from people and giving it to others. They claim that anyone who emphasizes social justice mis-quotes and mis-interprets the scripture. They insist that Jesus was not an advocate for social justice. Are they correct? In two words, absolutely not!
Social justice was not *just a theme* that Jesus promoted. The truth is that it is one of the over-riding themes of the Old Testament also. When God found fault with Israel for their corporate national sins, often times it was greed and the mis-treatment of the poor. Read Amos chapter five. Let’s look specifically at verse 11-12. (Amos 5:11-12) “you abuse the poor and demand heavy taxes from them. You have built expensive homes, but you won't enjoy them; you have planted vineyards, but you will get no wine. (12) I am the LORD, and I know your terrible sins. You cheat honest people and take bribes; you rob the poor of justice.” This could be an indictment of Wall Street and the global corporations today. They over tax the poor and pay little or no tax themselves.
When you search the word *poor* in the bible you find that there are over 170 verses that deal with the treatment of the poor by the wealthy. It is a VERY IMPORTANT concept with God. It was not just Amos. Isaiah also found fault with corporate, national Israel for the treatment of the poor. (Isaiah 3:14-15) “He will even judge you rulers and leaders of his own nation. You destroyed his vineyard and filled your houses by robbing the poor. (15) The LORD All-Powerful says, "You have crushed my people and rubbed in the dirt the faces of the poor." The idea that Christians should not want nations to care for the poor is unbelievable, and it would be repugnant if it were not done from ignorance.
While the church judges drug addicts, drunks and sexually addicted individuals… they support people that rob the poor to increase their own wealth and ignore social justice. If the church would spend even half of the time on social justice that it does on condemning people the lot of the poor would be increased immeasurably. Now there are those in the church who care for the poor, but they are the minority; especially in Euro/American-protestant denominations. I find it amazing that those who take such a literal stance on the bible ignore the social justice themes of scripture. This is especially true in view of Matthew 25:31-46. It is a warning of judgment and the sole criteria for judgment is social justice.
I have often said, that if church folk would just rest in redemption by the grace of God, and then begin working hard at social justice issues, they would find that they are too tired to sin so much ;-).
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