Your letters: Christ doesn't say to give to the government
A week or two ago I read an opinion by a reader named Mr. Rod Broding titled "Imagining A More Perfect Nation." As I read his words I became concerned at his using the Bible to support a political position. Probably because in recent days we have seen more and more political posturing, using the Bible and Christianity to belittle, embarrass and nudge Christians to support what appears to be a socialist agenda.
After reading the thoughts of Mr. Broding I reflected on exactly what Luke 12:48 says. Like I had thought, the Bible was being used out of context to support an agenda. That a person would do that has been toying with my mind for days. So much so that I didn't write this until I had time to pray and reflect on the issue.
I am far from a Bible scholar, but I do know this much. The words of Christ "to much is given much will be demanded" is followed by "and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Nothing in that passage or any other passage in the Bible dictates that one should be forced to give anyone or any government what they have to make a more equitable society. The whole essence of the Bible and Christ was and is personal salvation, personal acts and decisions based on caring for one another, not collective salvation that Mr. Obama and others talk about. It was and is a matter of personal choice. In fact the passage quoted really has to do with more than money. It deals with property, stuff, and personal talents.
What Christ was saying, as far as I can see, is that one needs to help others and use the gifts God gave each of us for the good of others. A good seamstress should show others or perhaps mend things for others, a farmer should find someone who is in need of food and help them learn to grow food, and yes someone with money should find a way to help others. But this is all done personally, not through edict by a runaway government.
The more we as individuals feed this government the more it desires and the fewer freedoms we have -- including religious freedoms. It is a mistake to think that forcing a "rich" person to turn over more money to the government will help anyone but the politician and the bureaucrat . The last one to get any of the money is the poor or needy and then those who do receive are chosen by the all knowing elites, with a decision based on less than altruistic motives.
Perhaps, if Mr. Obama and the others were truly interested in helping others they would remove all caps on charitable giving and let people and businesses deduct every dime they donate to legitimate charities like churches and synagogues or hospitals like Deborah Heart and Lung or Children's Hospital instead of trying to make it so that those who can truly give are deterred. Honestly, don't you think that a church or other real charity could do more and better with the money ? I know less would go to pay salaries and more to those who need it.
I also realized after much reflection that this whole economic equality bit and the recent rant of taking from the rich and giving it to the poor that many are chanting lately, flies against the Ten Commandments -- in particular "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." We as Christians need to remember this commandment and practice it. Perhaps then some would not be running around creating hatred between people. Especially a president of the United States. And perhaps there would be less breaking of many of the other commandments. The other Commandment that comes to mind is "Thou Shalt Not Steal." Taking another's wealth no matter what kind, and using it against the wishes of the owner is wrong whether it is government sanctioned or not. For those who believe in redistribution of wealth I ask, what do you own, have, or possess, what talents do you have and are you willing to turn it over to the government to be used by someone else who hasn't earned it?
Perhaps, the recent mantra of taking from others and coveting what they have is being led by someone other than Christ and unfortunately, Christians are falling for the lie because of envy and want and perhaps a lack of Biblical understanding.
If those so quick to take from others would lead by example perhaps then, those with "more" would follow the example.
Unfortunately it is very, very easy to "volunteer" another person's wealth, property etc. to make a "stand" against poverty, punish those with more, or in the name of financial equality, it is another to actually do something like ... not take any tax deductions, pay more taxes than you owe (if you really think the government deserves the money), or give to a charity, or volunteer -- my personal favorites. I don't believe Christ wants people to be forced by government decree to help each other because there is no good in that. Like salvation it is a personal decision. Instead of hating, envying or begrudging those with "more" who do not help others we should feel pity and pray for them.
No matter how much you give, or take from others and give away you cannot buy your way into heaven. There is no such thing as collective salvation only personal salvation and then only through Christ If your church does not teach this, FIND ANOTHER CHURCH.