This past week I began reflecting on the following verses related to poverty, riches, and impartiality:
- Exodus 23:3 “… nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute.”
Favoring the rich is only part of the equation that must be addressed. It is just as likely that the poor and their poverty stricken situations are so emphasized that the sum still leads to impartiality and favoritism. This is just as unjust as favoring those with untold treasures. It leads to a basic inequality and perpetuates the class-envy and strife that is all too common in our age. This only serves to fuel existing tensions as the differences between the two classes are exploited for some kind of political or personal expediency.
Yes, the Church should reach out to those in need, but not at the price of compromising the gospel. We must avoid resorting to the secular reasoning and humanistic methods when addressing the issue of poverty, as such only breeds a partisan spirit of class envy. We must scrutinize our motivation and ensure it is gospel centered. We must ask the difficult questions like: What are the reasons for the poverty? How can we best help the poor in the long run? Will the methods we use address the poverty effectively by equipping them and preparing them to provide for themselves? Is the gospel central to the aid that we render? Is our approach toward poverty alleviation really the best possible stewardship of the Lord’s resources? Apart from a tough line of inquiry, we will only perpetuate their plight while pitting the poor against rich.