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Devotionals

Shaming the Poor in the Name of Christ

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828ministries.com H3'ed 8/9/17
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For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. -- Romans 13: 6-7 (ESV)

Gee that's odd. God doesn't say that taxes are theft! In fact He says to pay them! Beloved, even during the time Jesus walked the earth He was largely indifferent to the governments of man. You want my taxes; the next fish you catch will have the tax in its mouth! Travis continues:

"Jesus doesn't ask us to advocate for, nor does he say we will be rewarded for, a system in which the masses vote to steal from those they deem to have plenty and give it to those they see as needy. The only giving of which Jesus commanded was the giving of our own money and belongings. More specifically, He commanded that we give what we have been convicted to give through our conscience and the Holy Spirit, not what is believed by others to be our "fair share." I think it's fair to say, Jesus would find taxing a segment of the population in order to give to the needy to be theft. Well-meaning theft? Maybe. But more likely, it's theft done in order to avoid having to deal with the poor and downtrodden ourselves. Government Welfare Tempts People Into Idleness and Dependency. Jesus took tempting others, by creating an environment in which they are like to fall to a sin, very seriously. In Luke 17:1-2, Jesus says, "Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin." Encouraging the growth of the welfare state, is like leaving a stack of Corona's on the dining table of a newly recovering alcoholic, and then leaving him alone for the weekend. It's likely not going to end with him conquering his addiction. Temptation towards idleness is similar. Everyone, some more than others, are tempted to be idle. Government welfare actively increases this temptation, especially for those who struggle with idleness. It creates an environment ripe with government dependence, without any personal accountability to one's friends, neighbors, or brothers in Christ. A welfare recipient that is idle knows the checks will keep coming, regardless of whether or not they are lazy. They know the system can be easily played." -- Matthew Travis

Apparently Travis is simply confused here. The government decides taxes, not the masses of people. This is the sad "wealth redistribution" argument that holds no water politically nor biblically. The conclusion that Jesus would view taxation as theft is asinine. The Bible is not unclear. Jesus addressed taxation and then God reconfirmed it through Paul. Then we see more silly political talking points not based in reality. Beloved, I have worked with individuals on welfare for over 15 years. Yes, there may be a small amount who are "gaming" the system but the vast majority are not because there is very little to "game." It is simply an existence in abject poverty and for Travis or anyone else who doesn't know what they are talking about to pretend they are an expert is nauseating. The Luke verse is dealing with tempting to sin. What Travis has done here is now equate the state of poverty to the state of sinfulness and addiction. Yet the Bible speaks at length about the unrighteousness of money. How the love of money is the root of all forms of evil. In the Parable of Lazarus and the rich man -- who went to heaven? Now, he did not go because he was poor but it dispels this insidious claim made by Travis that sin and poverty have any relationship whatsoever. Travis reminds me more and more of the judgmental Pharisee looking down upon the publican at prayer.

"With that in mind, it's clear that government welfare system is not a healthy way to go about charity. It is not an efficient method by which to help the poor, while still maintaining accountability and avoiding dependency. As Christians, we are called to be generous and giving. Jesus was quoted throughout the gospels saying Christians are to help feed the poor (Matthew 25:34-46, Luke 12:33-34, Matthew 5:42). This is translated by many liberal Christians as a reason to support the theft that is the welfare state. They attempt to make the teachings of Christ fit their socialist or progressive ideology. Many conservatives fall into this trap, as well. They too believe, like John Kasich, they're doing a charitable Christian deed by helping a select group of downtrodden individuals via government coercion." -- Matthew Travis

Only in the depraved mind of someone this hateful can a conclusion be reached that agrees the government welfare system is somehow not "healthy." It is certainly not perfect but perfection was not the goal. Helping people was. Taking care of the neediest in society was. The myth of the welfare queen created by Reagan was not true then and it is not true now. It was designed only to get people to demonize the poor. While it am less surprised that it worked so well in the world; the fact that it worked on so many Christians is very disheartening. This is not "government coercion" you heartless man. He concludes:

"In reality, Christ commanded charity and government welfare are polar opposites. Christ centered charity is about helping those in need, but not encouraging leeches to take advantage of the community at large. It's about being generous with your own money, but not involuntarily taking someone else's. It's about being sure your brothers and sisters have their needs met, while not encouraging them to become idle or lazy. Government welfare is inherently inefficient, ineffective, and easily corruptible. It is the ultimate example of a system susceptible to leeches, making no attempt to positively contribute to the community. Advocating for the government to collect welfare, under the threat of imprisonment, is most accurately described as self-righteous theft, not charity." -- Matthew Travis

As has been the norm from Travis, he makes silly conclusions he has not come close to proving and states them as gospel truth. Christ commanded charity and government welfare are not polar opposites beloved. One is a personal instruction and the other is a government trying to help its people. People in desperate need are not "leeches." If government run systems are so corruptible, inefficient and ineffective then change them! Improve them! Instead however Travis gives a huge middle finger to the poorest people and then blames it on God. How unseemly. He ends with as great a distortion as he started with. Governments do not collect welfare. They collect taxes but Travis knows he has no real argument there so he plays a little word switcheroo in the hopes that we did not notice. But we did.

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