A friend of mine told me something that changed some of his habits. He realized that he considered a book, article, commentator, or news report as “good” just because he agreed with it. He felt there may be good books, articles, comments, and news he won’t ever consider reading or hearing just because he doesn’t agree with them. Hm-m-m.
I struggled with that idea for a few days. Then I finally admitted that all my opinions will never be right. I will always need some new input and fresh views. If I only intake ideas identical to what I already have, it’s like an aquarium that never gets fresh water. It’s the same muddied water just being recycled without any filtering system. I don’t have to accept everything I hear, but I can never be renewed if I never hear anything new. So I thought about where my first stop would be to hear or read something I found disagreeable. I was mistaken with my choice.
I ended up on the web page for the Christian Left. Since I thought I was part of the Christian Right, this web page seemed like the logical step. I was really surprised by what I found. The web page referenced a lot of Bible verses to support the position that Christians should help the needy. Huh? Well, of course. Who would argue with that? Well, it appears that the Christian Right has the image of opposing such liberal actions. The Christian Right has an image of endorsing the well-known line “God helps those who help themselves.” I know that isn’t right, not every Christian on the Right holds to that position, but I also know that many do. I also know that some of the Christian Left consider cash handouts a primary solution to solving this issue – a deal-breaker for the Christian Right. Unfortunately it seems that some of the loudest talkers for each side distract from a united, Christian effort at a solution. It also seems that we’ve allowed this to become primarily a political issue, not a moral one.
Christians should care for the needy. I can’t say I believe the Bible and disagree with that mandate. The hard discussion is in the implementation of the command. What is the best way to do it? I think all of us agree that the current method of caring for the needy in the USA is broken. So, what can we do together that will be better?
The intent of this post is not to bring up a topic (care for the needy) and find a solution. I just wanted to tell you that I can find common ground when I really listen to the people with whom I thought I totally disagreed. From that common place, we can listen, share, and pray on our journey to a solution. Let’s stop accusing, pouting, and being defensive long enough to listen – both to God and our Christian family members.