Sunday, May 17, 2015

There is No Unless

Matthew 25:31-46 - "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels are with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one form another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' The. They also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment but the righteous into eternal life."

Romans 13:1-7 - Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant doing good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For the same reason 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, honor to whom honor is owed.

II Thessalonians 3:6-12 - Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, NOT BUSY AT WORK, BUT BUSYBODIES. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living (eat their own bread). [Emphasis added; parenthetical information from footnote.]

There is NO unless. 

Many people I have observed have criticized the social safety net programs. Let me define what constitutes a safety net program. 

A safety net program is a program designed to help people who are in need. That means that SNAP, TANF, SSI, SSDI, SS, VA, Pell Grants, Supplemental Grants, scholarships, loans, Medicaid, Medicare, etc. can all be considered safety net programs. Why? Because they help people in need. 

Now let me differentiate from welfare. Welfare is typically that assistance which is not earned. Which now falls to two programs: TANF and SSI for disability. BUT, let me put this forth as well. Do the lawmakers really EARN what they get? 

Let me explain some findings here:

Research has shown that one congressman might get as much as or as little as $2000 per day for food expenses only. This does not even count what they get paid for doing less than the minimum wage worker, housing, free healthcare for life, transportation, etc. If you want to start looking at what they are currently paid, they get $174,000 per year, enough that 41 people in my home state could have BCBS Gold plans! That's absurd! If they spend $2000 per day in food, that is $730,000 a year just in food! 

Now compare this:

One disabled veteran I know gets $2500 per month or $30,000 per year to cover ALL expenses. That veteran EARNED that. 

And for a single and young disabled adult, the breakdown is worse. That person gets a maximum of $733 per month or $8796 per year toward all expenses plus a maximum of $194 per month or $2328 per year for food only. 

In other words, one congressman gets paid what almost 6 disabled veterans might be paid and what almost 20 young disabled adults get for expenses or almost 75 single adults on SNAP get for food. Yet, the same congressmen who get that absurd amount for less work than a full time minimum wage employee works are trying to cut the safety net programs! Tell me how is that even right? 

Here's the clencher: The GOP is wanting to cut these vital programs and they are claiming to do it in the name of Christ. Look up. What does the least of these passage say? Oh, I know the excuses people make. But that says people are to do that, not government. Where? Where does Jesus differentiate that this passage only applies to people and not government! Oh, but, but, but, what if they are just lazy? Does Jesus say that you are to do these things to the least of these UNLESS they are lazy? I don't see an unless. But, but, but, the Bible says that if a man doesn't work, he shouldn't eat. Not what I read. I emphasized the critical point that Paul, not Jesus, was making in that passage, and he was talking about the busybodies, not the poor in general. A person may have a job, but if they are being nosy and getting all up in someone else's personal business, they are being a busybody, which is what Paul was discouraging. Not that a person who doesn't work should not eat, but a busybody should not eat. Ever hear of water cooler gossip? Those are your busybodies. But, but, but, I don't want my taxes paying for other people to eat yada yada yada. Shut up and pay your taxes. Jesus said it at least once as well as the passage I quoted from Romans. 

Another reason I included Romans in this post. Most of the GOP congressmen ran on one main message, "I hate Obama and I will fight him." Now tell me why? Dear Christian, if you hate the president, you need to ask for forgiveness. I see it a lot. People bash the man every post that is made about him. He was a gentleman the other day when it rained. People still bashed him! You do not have to agree with all of his policies. I don't. I support his work toward making sure every American that wants to has access to more affordable healthcare (note it is called the Affordable Care Act, not the affordable insurance act) and that no one can be denied. The law is not perfect, no thanks to the GOP bungling it even though it was originally their idea. I don't support gay marriage and I don't support abortion unless it is endangering the life of the baby or the mother or a case of rape. I don't have to like those things, but what I have to do is be respectful of my elected president who has a authority under God who in His sovereignty decided that for this season Mr. Obama was the appropriate leader for this country, and my duty under that is to pray for him, not bash him. It is appalling the number of people who claim Christianity that are bashing the president. And then they question research that shows Christianity is losing popularity. Well, I have said several things in this post that evidence reasons why. I myself have had to distance myself from it. I have a relationship not a religion. And that relationship has called me to a different direction. 

Church, you have the opportunity to make changes, and hopefully positive changes. I urge you to contact your leadership and to tell them to stop cutting safety net programs that benefit many of your people. I urge you to start encouraging your elected leaders to work with the president rather than against him for the good of humanity in this country. I urge you to not be idle in your work. 

Dear God, our country is in one hot mess right now. It is being torn apart and not in the best of ways. As we approach another fiscal year, I pray that You guide our leaders to make the right decisions and to increase taxes where needed to help those who are most vulnerable in the safety net programs both on the state and federal levels. I pray that You continue to guide our President to do what is necessary by all the people and not just the wealthy. I pray that You select the right candidate for the next president and place that person in office. So far, I am keen on Mr. Sanders, but I pray that You give me wisdom in that as well. I pray that You work in the hearts of those who have sinned against You either in their disrespect of our leaders or in their disrespect and disregard for other people in general. I pray that You lift away the self-centeredness that has taken its place in our society. Let Your will be done in all things. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

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