By Quin Hillyer at PJ Media;
By now, we “get it.” We understand. As all of this week’s standard readings tell us, and as both Old and New Testaments tell us in plenty of other places as well, we all are called to act selflessly, to “leave [part of our harvest] for the poor,” and to “give to anyone who begs from [us],” and otherwise to show charity, compassion, and generosity to the less fortunate. Or, more simply, as written in Leviticus 19:18 and as later repeated by Christ as the second of the two Great Commandments, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
We know, therefore, what we are called to do. The question is, how best to do it? While this is no political column, it is worth noting that in all these passages, the onus is on us as individuals, through our own will — not through government compulsion — to act charitably and compassionately. This does not mean that government has no role in combating poverty, but it does indicate that we cannot substitute government action for our own private actions and pretend that we have therefore met God’s commandments. It also means we can have different opinions about whether government relief is the most efficacious means of giving aid, and about all sorts of other policy questions that have exactly nothing to do with meeting our obligations as followers of God.
Therefore, having set aside all questions of policy and politics, how, as individuals, are we called to carry out these instructions?
As is always the case when reading the Bible, context is crucial…..
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