“He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; Then it was well. Is not that what it means to know Me?” Declares the Lord.” –Jeremiah 22:16 (NASB)
Religion makes a lot of noise, so much that it becomes very hard to focus on what God asks of us instead of what organizations ask of us and endless religionists shout at us.
Hypocritical religion is the practice of religious ceremony or practices that simulate qualities in a false pretense of being holy or virtuous.
We are called to social justice
As much as some want to ignore the needy and take no responsibility for them, we don’t get a waiver that says other things are more important.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8 (NASB)
“Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.” – Isaiah 1:17 (NASB)
Jesus helped the needy
Jesus exemplified helping the needy. He couldn’t ignore them. As he walked among them he healed the sick, pulled people from depravity into light, and called the plight of the poor and suffering into the attention of those in power in religion and government. Those who refused to see he called out as serpents and hypocrites.
We can’t hide in churches
The church is a wonderful thing, just as the Jewish Temple and synagogues were in Jesus’ day. But it can also be a place of Hypocritical religion where people go to hear comforting words and simply enjoy the comradery of others to the exclusion of responsibility.
The Prophet Amos saw this in his time and spoke for God:
““I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” – Amos 5:21-23 (NASB)
We can’t exploit the needy
Capitalism works to make many people very wealthy – wealthy beyond imagination. But the worst thing about “unregulated” capitalism is that it leaves people out. It excludes them from having a way to make a living. It allows people to be hired at wage rates that don’t permit them to live (living wage). This is very wrong.
We have to understand business and pay our workers.
“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” – Luke 14: 28 (NASB)
Exploiting others is wrong, wrong, wrong
“The Lord enters into judgment with the elders and princes of His people, “It is you who have devoured the vineyard; The plunder of the poor is in your houses. “What do you mean by crushing My people And grinding the face of the poor?” Declares the Lord God of hosts.” – Isaiah 3: 14 – 15 (NASB)
Hypocritical religion in the face of need is wrong
““Is this not the fast which I choose: To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”
It’s fashionable among some to think that their particular mission of their church or as an individual gives them the right to ignore those in need. Certainly we could devote all of your time to the needy to the exclusion of our other missions. But it’s not an either-or. We can do both.
We have the ability to make sure everyone is employed at a living wage so they can take care of themselves. We just need to emphasize this as much as making money.
The standard of belief and conduct for Christianity is love. Legal standard.
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