Santa, Jesus and increasing ugliness
Most days I have a few ideas for a blog. I wrestle with them, wait for them to jump out or line up with other thoughts.
But some days a topic is so clear…it’s like coming down stairs and finding Santa came early!
Please understand – I don’t write about politics. I write about real life, and politics is the polar opposite of real life.
I don’t care about Mr. Romney’s 47% comment. I really don’t. His campaign manager probably does, but I don’t.
Likewise, I understand the thought-process behind people wanting mandatory drug-testing for welfare recipients. I do get it. We think it is “fair” – as if anything in life is fair!
What troubles me is the loud Christian voice joining in to support these arguments. A presidential candidate implies that the 47% of Americans who paid no Federal income tax last year are irresponsible slackers who wait for government handouts and give no thought to their votes, and Christians cheer him on?
The numbers are wrong and the disparaging label is not upheld by the statistics. Very few of that 46% (not 47%) remotely fit the irresponsible slacker category. Many, in fact, work full time jobs but are still below the income requirement to pay federal taxes because of crazy deductions like children. Many others are already in the low income bracket and have deductions because they care for an elderly parent. Some are in a high income level and have found enough loopholes to prevent them from paying any taxes.
In the same way, statistics in every state where drug testing of welfare recipients was enacted shows the state spent more money administering the tests than was saved.
I looked through all four Gospels this afternoon, and was unable to find a single time that Jesus judged a person before He helped or healed. The closest I see Him coming is in John 5 when He asks the man at the pool of Bethsada if he wants to get well? The man whines out some excuse, and Jesus heals him immediately and sends him on his way. No judgement. No lecture.
Jesus understands people, and he understands poverty. Most of us don’t attempt to understand either. Fortunately for us, Jesus also understands human nature.
He understood it when His disciples wanted to send 5000 people off to find their own meal. Five loaves and 2 fish wasn’t enough to feed them, let alone inciting a riot by feeding some of the crowd and not others. Their selfishness and fear overwhelmed any love they had for the people.
We’re like that, aren’t we?
We say, “Well if I was ever in need, I wouldn’t just sit around waiting for a hand-out,” as if that makes us morally superior. We don’t know the truth of the statistics, let alone know each story behind those statistics.
We judge what people with Access cards buy, promising ourselves that in the complete unlikelihood that we would ever share that circumstance, we would be much wiser shoppers. But we will never allow ourselves to be in that circumstance, will we?
We decide all assistance recipients are drug addicts because it makes us feel better than if we had to think some of those folks simply ran into hard times and can’t quite find their way out.
We scoff at folks who comes to our church’s weekly free dinner. Some of them are dirty and eat far too much. And we know they sneak food out. Then we decide others don’t really look like they need a free meal – probably just moochers.
And while Jesus understands, it bugs me. I probably didn’t have to spell that out.
I don’t like to hear such talk from anyone, especially from Christians.
There is one reason I am who and what I am – the saving grace of Jesus. But for His grace and mercy, I could be homeless, friendless, destitute, a drug addict. I could be a godless gazillionaire who would do anything for money, or an angry person who lashes out, or an insecure person who is offended by everything.
How about you, fellow Christian? Where would you be without God’s saving grace?
Do I work hard? Of course I do. To honor the gifts He has given me. But I can’t do anything on my own. And neither can you, fellow Christian.
That might be something to think before jumping again on the “those people are lazy, irresponsible slobs” bandwagon.
Words like that go directly against the same Bible that is used to condemn so many other things. And implying that Jesus would treat people the same way gives Him a really bad – false – name. And it surely doesn’t make for a warm invitation to church.
Rather than standing in judgment of people, maybe we could just love them.
Not even love the sinner, hate the sin.
How about we just love. LOVE until they see our Jesus and want to love him too.
Then He can take care of the sin part. He does a much better job.
How about we do that?
We will talk again soon…