Lesson 6: Compassion for the Economically Oppressed

It was time to start applying the study to our situation, so I tried to imagine what would move Jesus to compassion in our time. After the obvious needs of the sick, injured, and grieving, those neglected and hurt by the economy immediately came to mind.

Jesus would certainly have something to say about our severe separation of rich and poor. He might note that during the pandemic, we refused to see how much we depend on the poor as we allowed the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer. He might claim we close our eyes when those in charge of government regulations meant to protect the weak retire early to work for those they were supposedly regulating. And he might wonder why we do not make more of officials and even Supreme Court judges receiving great gifts for preventing legislation that would benefit the poor. Without a doubt, he would feel for those replaced by technology and those kept in debt by our credit systems.

While imagining all this, I kept hearing Donald Trump label his opponents as socialists, communists, fascists, and globalists out to destroy our nation. It sounds like we are going to hear more and more that capitalism is the Christian way of life.

I was ready to write an anti-capitalist essay that observed an economic system based on rewarding self-interest could not be supported by followers of Jesus who promote healing our society by overcoming self-interest and working for the common good.

Then I had to admit Jesus was not so much interested in the workings of systems as matters of the heart. He attacked people who used the system to steal from the poor, who took advantage of widows and orphans.

At the same time, I remembered one of the exhibits in an Eastern European museum reporting on the years spent under Communism. It claimed the same exploiters of the poor rose to the top no matter whether the system was– Nazi, Communist, or Free Market.

I still imagine Jesus would be moved to compassion by those neglected and hurt by our economy. The whole Bible speaks to this injustice. And I believe he would support every effort to correct and improve our economic system. However, I think he would be much more concerned with transforming hearts so we care for the poor, no matter what the system.

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  1. Ira says:

    If you want to transform the” heart” you had better support the development and function of families and parents. Has the Christian Church been do well in this regard? From what I see marriage and parenting are not what they used to be.


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