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Today there are those who tell us that it is only fair that “rich” people be made to pay more; they tell us that taking from the rich and giving to the poor is righteous and correct. The Robin Hood mentality is pushed almost incessantly by one party and is being pushed by the other one to a lesser extent. MANY of the people who tell us that Jesus would have us provide for the poor are the same people who tell us Jesus has no place in our schools, government or public discourse. WHY do they only want to talk about what Jesus would do on this issue? Why does it not enter their minds to inquire what Jesus would do when it comes to gay marriage, abortion or a host of other topics? They ONLY want to talk about Jesus when they think they can shame us into doing what THEY think is right. DOES the Bible tell us that we should let government take from those who have to provide for those who have not?………………………..
Not exactly, while all through the Bible the concept of being generous and giving to others is held up and taught; the concept of stewardship comes up too. You can’t invoke Christ and Christianity ONLY as a tool to force charity. Government has shown us over and again that they are terrible at managing money! Government incompetence should convince people not to accept a concept of forced charity that doesn’t exist scripturally. Biblical charity has a purpose, obedience to God and love of fellow men. The current idea of charity is to steal from people who have and give to those who have not. Taking something form one person even to give to others is still theft. It also ignores the fact that our founding fathers and our creator NEVER intended for men to exist on the backs of their brothers!
Two scriptures you are likely to encounter in this debate are Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. And Acts 2:45 and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. The first scripture was a VERY specific instance applying to ONE man whose possessions had become a hindrance to his relationship with God. The second verse was speaking of the early church groups who were expecting the IMMINENT return of Christ. Neither of these verses were commandments, doctrines or requirements for all Christians.
Benjamin Franklin said “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” Paul wrote to the Church at Thessalonica in II Thessalonians 3:10-15 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
Surprisingly, two of the best quotes I could find that cut to the heart of this issue come from Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame. He is a Libertarian and an Atheist yet his statements put him on the side of the Bible and the founders! Here are his quotes on this subject….
“People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we’re compassionate we’ll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.” And “It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness.
Welfare was started by FDR under the “new deal” back in the 30’s and we entered the modern welfare era in the 1960’s. Poverty has not gotten better and in fact there are more people getting benefits now than ever before. As an example in 1968 less than 5% of households were women on welfare. By 1975 that percentage reached 10 percent! We now have generational welfare and have gone from helping those who need temporary aid to paying people to exist for the rest of their lives who could and should provide for themselves. HOW did we reach the point that it became fashionable to penalize success and reward failure and bad decision making? Any honest attempt to deal with that question must touch on a general eviction of God! As we moved to make God illegal in public, removed him from our schools and discussions then as a nation stopped attending church and reading our Bible; our understanding of who God is and what his word actually says diminished. It is now to the point that MANY who call themselves Christian uncritically accept perversions of Christian teaching served up by those who hate God and vilify Bible believing Christians!
When we consider the failures of government intervention, welfare and the current financial realities we MUST re-evaluate how we help others. Faith based aid to the poor is effective and scriptural, government welfare and income redistribution are neither.
We can and should have programs in place to assist those who can NOT take care of themselves and most of us have no issues with temporary need to families who are in dire straits through no fault of their own. Where we split ways with the big government welfare pushers is in the basic application of welfare. IF you assume that people can and should care for themselves you wish a climate that encourages all people to try and to succeed. IF you think that some people, for whatever reason are inherently less able than others and that we must provide a meager subsistence for them as they can’t and won’t succeed on their own, we have gone astray from Biblical teaching and have in fact become partial in ourselves and become judges of evil thoughts.
As I contemplate the closing of this message I feel pressed to hammer home a point. There is a difference between rights and privileges. As a society we are getting SO spoiled that we now think almost EVERYTHING is a right! Our rights end where another’s begin we cannot force people to provide services for free or to provide food, insurance or whatever to another at their expense or without their consent. It is the grossest kind of violation. How do we decide who IS rich? I know of a man who has several small businesses that employ others. He also owns rental properties that he rents at fair prices. He is AT his businesses several hours of each day and is involved in many charitable organizations. This person would be considered rich by many yet he is not well enough off to pay others to do it all for him. He is trying to grow his own business and works very hard. Should he have to provide his rental properties to poor people for free? Should he give away the products of his businesses and make no profit? He DOES actually provide some of his extra and leftover products to a local homeless outreach. When government steps in and “forces” him to be more charitable they abuse him and take away the incentive to help and support the community and in fact to succeed. We keep “soaking” the rich and eventually all we really do is share the misery and make all men poorer. What incentive is there to try and succeed if it will be taken from you and in many cases given to those who do nothing and produce nothing! We also take away incentive from poor people who might otherwise be industrious. The person who thinks they will never have anything other than welfare may be being given a meager existence but he is being robbed of something priceless, his self esteem and the feeling of accomplishing something and taking care of himself. He is a slave. Odd isn’t it that many people who have in the past been downtrodden and/or abused so passively accept being an indentured servant to the state?
The entire class warfare system is based on coveting and stealing from some to the benefit of others! Does right and wrong change when we consider rich VS poor or R Vs D? For some it seems so! Do we not remember the 10 commandments in Exodus 20? 20:15 Thou shalt not steal. And 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
I hope this article causes some reflection on our own personal charity as we DO have a responsibility to others in Christ. Our entire society as we are so often reminded is NOT Christian. Funny that so many would have us believe it would be unchristian to cut ANY entitlement spending while they also tell us they want Christians silent in schools and politics.