Friday, 23 August 2013

Righteousness.

"'Because I delivered the poor who cried, and the orphan who had no helper.....and I caused the widows heart to sing for joy.....
"'I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame, I was father to the needy and I championed the cause of the stranger.
"'I broke the fangs of the unrighteous, and made them drop their prey from their teeth.'"  Job 29:12-17 (NRSV)
"'The stranger has not lodged in the street, I have opened my doors to the traveler.'"  Job 31:32 (NRSV)

This is Job's declaration of his righteousness before God.
It consists of charity and social justice.

"And the crowds asked him, 'What then should we do?'  In reply he said to them, "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none, and whoever has food must do likewise.'
"Even the tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, 'Teacher, what should we do?'  He said to them, 'Collect no more than the amount prescribed to you.'  Soldiers also asked him, 'And we, what should we do?'  He said to them, 'Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusations, and be satisfied with your wages.'"  Luke 3:10-14 (NRSV)

This was the advice of John the Baptist.

How does this relate to us today?

I would suggest that today we should open our hearts to the poor and destitute, the disabled and asylum seekers.
Instead of blaming them for their own misfortune.

I would also suggest that we deal honestly in business.
Not avoiding tax or exploiting labor.
But treating employees like brothers and sisters or sons and daughters.

Employers should provide as a father provides for his family.
They should open their hearts to their workers and the community around them.
Instead of oppressing and exploiting people our of fear.

We should challenge the conventions which say that we don't have to care about the people we employ, we are not responsible to anyone.

"'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me'"  Matthew 25:40 (NRSV)

And this includes vulnerable people in third world countries.

I would say to those people - Do not resort to arms or violence in response to oppression and exploitation but cry out to God!
He will hear you.
And deliver you from their hands.


[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All rights reserved.]

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