Christ’s Mandate

When the Aurora shooting first happened, I wasn’t surprised at the wellspring of prayers and expressions of horror on Facebook and other social sites. It was nice to see that it took about 48 hours before the baser part of our nature surfaced.

There were the expected calls for more gun control, but one person surprised me by saying her first thought was whether or not the victims had health care. Now I was going to give the commenter a hard time about it, but that would be a bit hypocritical on my part. My thought – once I got passed the incomprehensibility that someone could commit such a heinous act – was not much better. I wondered how long it would take before people started politicizing and placing blame on everyone except the person who actually pulled the trigger.

The purpose of this entry is not to disseminate what happened in Aurora, or why. I want to instead concentrate on the healthcare comment noted above, and how God expects us as both a country and individuals when faced with the poor and hurting.

I prefer to look at the world and its problems through a Biblical perspective. I’m no scholar, so it’s possible the more scholarly may find problems with my analyses. By the same token, the Bible wasn’t written by or for the scholarly, but for you and me, so I don’t think I’m too far from what God meant.

In looking up scripture with regard to giving to the poor, it shouldn’t come as a surprise I found many. I want to focus on but a few:

“But if there are any poor Israelites in your towns when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward them.” ~ Deuteronomy 15: 7

“Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.” ~ Proverbs 28:27

“Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.” ~ Isaiah 58: 7

“John replied, ‘If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.” ~ Luke 3:11

Some argue it’s anti-Christian to fight against higher taxes in order to help the poor and needy, and they could easily use the scriptural passages above to bolster their point.

I maintain that is our duty as individuals and communities to dig into our own pockets and pound the concrete to help the needy. Read carefully the scriptures above. Notice how each one is talking directly to us. Nowhere is it mentioned that we must depend on (or pay through taxes) our government to do it.

When we decide that our taxes are supposed to help the poor, it too easily becomes an excuse to not accept the responsibility God gave us. We can simply sit in our easy chairs and vegetate in front of the television or computer and say to ourselves, “I don’t need to help my neighbor. My government is doing it for me.”

I don’t have all the statistics, but I do know we’ve spent billions of dollars “on the poor” and they are still with us. I remember hearing on the Paul Harvey radio show about twenty years ago that for every five dollars given to the government that was meant to help the poor, the poor received one dollar. I doubt it’s improved over the last twenty years.

The lady who lamented over the possible lack of insurance for the Aurora victims, I have an answer to the problem with the following news articles:

Aurora Blood Banks Booked Solid (http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_21128567/aurora-theater-shootings-blood-donation-centers-booked-solid?source=rss )

Children’s Hospital to Give Free Care to Aurora Theatre Shooting Victims (http://www.denverpost.com/theatershooting/ci_21158943/childrens-give-free-care-aurora-theater-shooting-victims?source=pkg )

Aurora Victims Relief Fund Raises Near $2 Million as of July 24 ( http://www.registercitizen.com/articles/2012/07/25/news/doc501003dca5ae3366888696.txt ) with Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures to donate a large but unspecified amount.

Those are just three I found after a 2 minute search, and I’m sure there are many others, others we may never even hear about. Yet, these are perfect examples of people meeting Christ’s mandate to care for those who need it.

And not one of those acts was mandated by our government.

As an aside I found this scripture: “When this offering is given to the Lord to purify your lives, making you right with him, the rich must not give more than the specified amount, and the poor must not give less.” ~ Exodus 30:14.

The offering in this case pertains to maintaining the Tabernacle, but with all the calls for the “Rich to pay their ‘fair’ share,” lately, I thought it ironically appropriate.

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