Complacent and Complicit

The Poor You Have With You Always

There are several points on which I can stand on with regard to the poor and hungry masses. Let me list my defenses here.

  • It is not my fault.
  • I don’t waste any food.
  • If it rots in my refrigerator, I give it to my dogs.
  • I can’t be expected to take it to the homeless shelter, nor send it to refugee camps overseas.
  • I do give to good causes and the like.
  • I recognize that Jesus himself said it was a hopeless situation. Matthew 26:1; For you always have the poor with you.
  • And last but not least, it is not my fault. (Did I say this one before?)

Those of us who claim to be followers of Christ have been both either complacent or complicit in addressing the needs of the materially poor. We have underscored Christ’s proclamation that there will always be poor people. We cling to that more readily as reality than heaven or hell. It is our defense against doing more and it allows us to be complacent in meeting the needs of the poor, and hence complicit in keeping them impoverished.

If I am neither advocate nor ally for the poor, I am part of the opposition to the relief of suffering. As long as things are going my way, I don’t have to concern myself with meeting their needs. God has given me an exit strategy. They will always be here. Who am I to resist the will of God?