Thursday, 19 July 2012

A Reader Asks How I Resolve Being A Non-Socialist-Christian

A reader writes:

Hey Ryan,

Great Post! I really appreciate your last quote:

"I am so fed up with working my butt off to support a cultural mindset of entitlement with my tax dollars."

I whole heartily agree... The Occupy Movement, the picketing/rioting students in Quebec, and even the sentiment of entitlement that I get from some of the homeless people that frequently attend a soup kitchen that my husband preaches at every now and then... it's all putting a bad taste in my mouth.

(My husband and I were joking around during the Occupy movement last year... that it would make a funny reality TV show, to kidnap all the occupiers while they were sleeping and move them to a country in the Third world... it'd be funny to see some attitudes adjusted about their sense of "rights"... )

At the same time, I do see how some people in society DO need help and ongoing provision from others. Since leaving C4C, I took a job as an administrative assistant for an organization that provides ongoing housing and support for men with mental illness (schizophrenia,depression,o.c.d...etc.)Our organization is the difference between mentally ill men living on the streets, ending up in jail, or living in a caring Christian community that ensures they have a safe place to sleep, regular meals and are taking their proper medication. I've seen first hand the difference it makes because these guys receive ODSP and are looked after. There is no way these guys could hold down any kind of job that could support themselves.

... Ryan, even though it's been a few years, I would still say that I know you somewhat.I know you love God and read your Bible. I know that you know what a soft place God has in his heart for the Poor.

All this to say, I'm just curious how you reconcile the two issues.... Socialism and the epidemic of entitlement and laziness that is being cultivated in our country... (Ugh!) While at the same time, seriously taking on the call of Jesus to serve "even the least of these", as if we were serving Him...

I often feel like my heart goes back and forth as I see the need around me... and at the same time I see the abuse that's happening in the system.


Margie (Rennie) Becker
Hi Margie,

Great question and thanks for sharing. Here is how I resolve the issue. Compassion comes from our free will.  Jesus shows us how to love our neighbour.  When we read the story about the man on the road, notice whom Jesus identifies as the one who loves his neighbour: the one who: 1. Saw a need (saw him and helped him) 2. Had resources to meet the need (paid the bill and said he would pay more if needed upon his return) and 3. Had physical contact with the individual.  Thus, when we meet a need out of these things, true compassion is demonstrated.  The ‘justification’ the left often uses is that they are meeting a need therefore loving others.  The problem is, it’s devoid of a personal connection (it’s a government program who get their money from ‘some taxpayer’).  The compassion is not the free will of the individual, but a forced law.  Everything you mentioned that is amazing, noble and helpful should be done…but my argument is that it’s better to do this privately  (faith group, personally, corporately, charity etc).  This way, it’s compassion directed from resources derived from one’s free will, not forced taxation.  Forcing taxes and pushing programs is not compassion; even if the program seems nice.  When help is offered personally, the person who is helped can tie the help to a relationship (group, person etc) that they can be connected with.  Resources being tied directly to the help is far more life changing and powerful then tossing cash into a pot and letting gov. distribute it via programs; however well intended.  I argue for our personal connection being tied to our resources to demonstrate compassion: far more life changing then government will ever be.  The left argues ‘that’s not a practical idea because there are greedy people who will not give’.  This is true.  I have met far more greedy socialists (limited resources) then greedy business owners…infact, most of the richest people are also the most generous people.  Interesting that they ‘got rich’ by meeting other’s needs…now they use their riches to meet other’s needs.  Either by profit or by freely giving, we were built and created to meet other’s needs.  I cringe when government butchers this and gets in the way.  I hope this helps.

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