Saturday, May 15, 2010

Forgetting the Poor

In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor -- let them be caught in the schemes they have devised. Psalm 10: 2 NRSV

What are we teaching our children with our own attitudes and opinions?

I helped with the children's program the other night and realized how we have communicated to our children a lack of compassion to those less fortunate. Of course, we have covered it up by saying that the poor actually are trying to take advantage of us. Our children hear us saying that those people "begging" on the exit ramp actually use the money given to them for alcohol and drugs.  Or they are just too lazy to work and expect a hand out.

Yet, time and again in the bible, God is seen as wanting the faithful to give hand outs. In Old (and New) Testament times, there was no welfare sytem, no retirement, no surviving spouse benefits and no medicaid. If you were an orphan, a widow or too ill to work, you were often forced to beg just to have food and clothing.

At no time does God give us clear parameters on who we should help or how we should help. God doesn't tell us to give only to those who meet certain criteria or who can prove they aren't alcoholics. God just expects us to help those who are poor and less fortunate. God tells us again and again that the wicked take advantage of those who are needy. And God takes note of this. God will make sure there is justice for the poor, and punishment for those who have abused them.

I am not saying that we are abusing the poor. But I am wondering, with our own attitudes, if we are taking away compassion for the poor from our children. And I also wonder if this will create injustices on their part... or on ours.

God, you ask us to help the needy. But we have so often been scammed that we have lost our compassion for those less fortunate. Rekindle in us and in our children compassion for the poor. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims

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