In my last post, The Problem with Locking People Up for Money, I discussed several systems of injustice we see in our society today including border concentration camps, the prison industrial complex, and the institutionalization of disabled people, and how you should follow the money if you want to identify the source of the problem.
The pursuit of money at the expense of other people is not a new problem, of course, it’s existed for thousands of years. So, as a Jesus follower, I think it’s important to consider his words on this subject. After all, many people promoting this inequity, claim the Christian faith too.
I just wonder how it is that they get there?
For one thing, Jesus seemed to be against money as a marker of success; at least in a faith sense. I recall, one story in particular where he told a wealthy person to give up all they had, give their money to the poor, and follow him. (Mathew 19, Luke 18)
Furthermore, just prior to his discourse in these passages, he elevates children to an exalted position in the Realm of God. For the circumstances we see in our world today, this is a double damnation.
In fact, just prior to both of these lessons, we are told by Jesus that it would be better for a person to have a millstone tied around their neck and to be tossed into the sea than to cause a child to stumble. That doesn’t seem to leave a lot of wiggle room. (Matthew 18, Luke 17)
Beyond that we could consider how Jesus lifts up a foreigner as the prime example of the most important Law of Love when someone tries to find room to exclude others once again in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25-37)
Everything else comes after the Law of Love for God and neighbor.
We could also pontificate on where we would be today if Jesus was stolen from his parents after they fled as refugees to save his life as a baby. (Matthew 2:13-18)
I know you wouldn’t have done that to Jesus but, he might also ask you to consider his words about neglecting people in need while paying particular attention to the end where he says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)
To be clear, in case you can’t go look up the passage to read for yourself, the righteous are the people in need and damnation is reserved for the negligent.
Moreover, since many people like to use biblical law as a means of exclusion, we could talk a great deal about this too.
After all, Jesus tells us, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)
We are also told to leave food for the poor and the foreigner. (Leviticus 19:9-10)
Going right back to the Law of Love, we are told to “Love the foreigner as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)
That God loves the foreigner residing among you as you are to love them yourself. (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)
Do not oppress a foreigner… (Exodus 23:9)
It seems pretty clear.
You can do a lot of things to people when you have money and power.
If you are going to mistreat them, however, you can’t rightly claim faith while doing it.
At least I don’t think so, anyway. What do you think?
Wherever you find yourself this day, thanks for journeying with me and remember in the world of justice and Love,
Love Accepts You No Exceptions.