|If you want to help the poor
do not sell them into slavery
I think one of the greatest deceptions affecting a younger generations of Christians in America is this one: If you don’t support “helping the poor by force” via civil government, then you don’t care about the poor.
I think those that hold to this belief would vehemently oppose that way of saying it, but that is indeed the logic behind what is being said.
I would go so far as to say compulsory government “help” of the “poor” is very unloving. It robs resources from the productive. It robs their opportunity to give and share and bless. It sells the poor into slavery to government-poverty-mindset systems. If taken too far it will also impoverish the “wealthy” and there will be no wealth left to “distribute.”
The Bible encourages us to “work with our hands so that we would have something to give to those in need.” (Eph 4:28) It also says that “he who does not work does not eat.” (II Thes 3:10)
Productive people voluntarily reaching out to those who don’t know how to be productive is the plan presented in the Bible. Mercy and help even to other productive people whose circumstances have brought difficulty is fitting as well. (In other words, I am not assuming that everyone in need is unproductive. Any of us can come upon hard times!)
|Without a Doubt we need to be productive
in order to have something to help others in need!
The Old Testament (and New) also provides for help to those whose productivity is limited through no fault of their own. This help primarily comes through family, but God also made provision for orphans, widows, and poor wanderers (Deut 10:18, Isa 58:7, James 1:27). I haven’t read anywhere, though, that presents a compulsory tax-and-distribute based solution.
There is indeed compulsion from our conscience. There is compulsion through God’s promises to bless or curse; but there is no compulsion from a Messianic State.
The State cannot save us, only God can; and we can spread the solution to others by exemplifying generosity and teaching God’s ways.
Summary: It is not loving or Christian to “tax the rich” in order to “help the poor.” It is loving to teach God’s ways and be generous with those in need.