Thoughts on Moderation and Charity
So, I wanted to title this something witty about moderation being the key and Christ being the door, but I couldn’t quite get my comparisons to work together. Anyway, since I have plenty of time to think right now, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how bad we are at handling moderation. Is that a problem in every culture? I wonder…
Look at politics and our two-party system. Both parties seem to be going out of their way to take extreme positions, even going so far as to drive out moderate voices in their party. Does one party really not want everyone to have access to life-saving or even life-improving health care? Does the other party really think the solution is that we need a health care system that doesn’t consider how much it will cost and who we make pay for it all?
I am encouraged by Proverbs 16:32-33 from The Message – “Moderation is better than muscle, self-control better than political power. Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.” The Great Moderator, if you will.
American “Christians” (the only kind I feel I can speak on) don’t do very well at moderation. We stand behind extreme positions and cling to it as truth. I’m not talking about real “one way, truth, and life” truth, but the areas where Christ exhibited moderation. We either hate the sinner or we love the sin.
Do we really want to be on the side of denying health care to those who need it, even if they don’t “deserve” it? Christ said, “I was sick and you looked after me.” Christ didn’t tell us to ask the sick how they got that way and only share what we have been blessed with if they’ve made good decisions about their education, their finances, etc. Notice that He also didn’t say, “I was sick and you took from someone else to look after me.” The Good Samaritan doesn’t take the injured man to the inn and demand that the innkeeper cover the expenses for his care. He covers it himself from his own pocket.
I think that if we were to figure out what charity and loving our neighbor as ourselves actually looks like, we wouldn’t end up in so many intolerable positions. Can we start an American Christian revolution of providing for the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, the stranger, the needy? Can we do it without judging how they got into that position, knowing that it’s but for God’s grace that we aren’t in that position?