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Justice II: Giving the Needy ...
Thursday, April 2, 2020. Good morning! We are still with the lines from Matthew 6, where Jesus talks about justice and righteousness in the form of doing things for those in need.
Let us take up the actions which are disscussed here. So far, we have discussed the framework of the whole situation. But we have not touched the actions which Jesus is referring to. He talks about “giving to the needy”. Most ethical systems on this planet know the target to give to the needy. But why? And how?
In the political realm, there is an ongoing discussion about the type of help which should be given to people or whole states. There is a conflict between individual help at a given point in time, and the processes which this help might influence or even trigger.
Love your Neighbour …
But let us recall the passage from Matthew first:
1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6, 1-4)
The whole bible considers giving to the needy a high goal. It is rooted in the character of God. God is love. He is the great lover. He wants to give and he IS giving, day by day. He provides an environment to the human race which they could use to grow crops, to build houses, to be creative in science, art and society. He provides an environment where humans can work, where they can make plans and carry them out. And he provides freedom, to act in this world following our own choices and preferences.
… as yourself …
The world is full of beauty. But the world is full of difficulties and threats as well. And the economic and social processes as well as individual choices and behaviour bring challenges. There are enough people who struggle with their own life support. There are many situations where basically any individual - strong or weak, man or woman, young or old - can get into severe difficulties.
We are called to help those in need. That is a clear word. At the same time it is not said HOW we should help. Jesus gives some examples as he is asked by people: “who is my neighbour”. But the individual help and the way to approach the problem is left open. Our creativity, our choices and our reason are needed here, to find good solutions and good ways to help.
It is good to use your full brain power when you help the needy. It is not just about doing what they want right now. We are asked to find sustainable solutions which help many in the long run, with a framework of clear targets for each single individual.
As a society, we are in trouble in many places. There is the problem of international security, war and crime with migrants trying to get out of their trouble. There are drugs and psychic illnesses in the middle of any society. There are epidemics and illnesses, such as the corona virus, threatening many individuals and the health systems of many states. There are enough challenges for you and for me, for all of us, to contribute to good and sustainable solutions! (Roland Potthast)