A Follow-up to Do Justice

A reader in response to my recent post ‘Do Justice’ said I was writing about communism.

I don’t think I was. What I was trying to do was illustrate how key verses in the bible back up the overall thrust of the Occupy movement. There are over 2,000 verses in the bible that says to take care of the orphan, widow, poor, and oppressed. If we are to take our faith in Jesus Christ seriously and to take up the call to be disciples than our lives should reflect that we are longer concerned with our selves but the cause of the orphan, widow, poor, and oppressed. Thomas Huxley said, “The Bible has been the Magna Carta of the poor and of the oppressed.”

Let’s look at a few of the verses where Jesus talks about caring for the poor.

Matthew 19: If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.

Luke 14: When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.

Mark 12: Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

These are just three examples of Jesus speaking about caring for the poor. Jesus was on the side of the poor and oppressed, he had harsher words for the religious elite than he did for the sinners. I think if you seriously read the bible and enter into the text and let it transform you into the kind of person God would have you be than you have no choice than to take up the cause of the orphan, widow, poor, and oppressed. To be a Christian is to do justice not for your sake or to gain anything but for the glory of God.

Matthew 5: You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.  You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. It’s nice to be rich and powerful, but it’s more powerful to give back, to use your money and power to help the poor and oppressed. You should never miss an opportunity to make others happy. You should never miss an opportunity to give a helping to your hurting brothers and sisters. People are hurting. They want to work, but cannot find jobs. On some applications, it says not to apply if you have been unemployed for more than six months. People need health insurance, but cannot get it. People are living on less and less. People are going hungry. In the United States, this should not be happening, but it is. We are not taking care of each other. Our society is deteriorating. The failed policies of the Republican Party are making things worse. They are far more concerned with making President Obama fail than with helping America succeed. President Obama has been working to make things better, to repair all the crap that George W Bush caused.

As Christians, we should answer the call and take up the cause of the poor and oppressed. God doesn’t want pew warmers, what he wants are Kingdom livers, men and women who no longer just say, “I’m a Christian”, but men and women who live their Christianity. If your Christianity doesn’t change you and prompt you to make changes and live a healthier, saner, happier, and kinder life than it is more worthless than a wad of chewed up piece of gum stuck on the bottom of your shoe.  No longer can we who are serious about following pray on Sunday morning ‘thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ and then come Monday morning have a cold, hard heart for the poor and oppressed.

Brennan Manning said, “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

Dietrich Bonheoffer said, “If our Christianity has ceased to be serious about discipleship, if we have watered down the gospel into emotional uplift which makes no costly demands and which fails to distinguish between natural and Christian existence, then we cannot help regarding the cross as an ordinary everyday calamity, as one of the trials and tribulations of life. We have then forgotten that the cross means rejection and shame as well as suffering.”

Maybe I’m just a crazy liberal, but I say that we take serious what the bible teaches that we take up the cause of the poor and oppressed.

What do you think?

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