I’m not a religious person, but you don’t have to be religious to be compassionate.
If you do a simple search of the christian Bible, you’ll find many verses and references to the poor.
According to these verses, are religious people to be antagonistic to the poor? No.
Are they to be indifferent about the poor? No.
The verses actually have a command—not a suggestion—in them: to do something for the poor.
Christian or not, I believe we should care for the poor. If we have the resources (money, clothing, shelter, or volunteer time), we should do what we can for the poor—especially those that live around us.
Sure, I have heard of all of the reasons that people say we shouldn’t. I’ve probably given those excuses at different points in my life. But in the end, there’s no good excuse.
We all do better when everyone is doing okay.
When there is poverty, crime increases. People have to pay rent and feed their families. Depression from being poor perpetuates bad habits, which inadvertently keeps the poverty plateaued. Many turn to alcohol, drugs, and gambling in order to cope. They don’t need our pity. They want our help.
There is a Bible verse that the religious use often in order to avoid helping the poor: “The poor will always be among you.” (Matthew 26:11)
I don’t believe that Jesus spoke this in fatality, a giving in to the inevitable, a so why try?
I believe that this quote from the “Christ” perhaps is a challenge. Maybe it’s a task; a goal. Feed the poor, house the poor, give the poor dignity. Maybe the phrase could have been better said, “The poor around you will never escape your eyes. They will surround you. They will come to you for help. So love them, because when you see them you will think of me.”
I doubt anyone would prefer to live a life of struggle. Help is mutual. If we help the poor, they can become productive members of society, and the greased wheel of life spins easier.
Helping others isn’t just helping another, it’s helping everyone. It helps you.
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