Jesus telling the rich young man go sell what he has, and give to the poor made me recall that the Bible’s Book of Proverbs had things to say about being poor. Here are some.
14:20 “The friends of the rich are many, but even his neighbor hates the poor man.”
14:31 “He who oppresses the poor blasphemes his Maker.”
30:8-9 “Let me be neither rich nor poor, lest being full I deny you, saying, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or being in want, I steal.”
That last bit is sensible. If someone has a starving family, and there is no honest way to come by food, he must steal to keep the family alive.
There is a kind of justice of which we hear too little. It is Distributive Justice. It expresses God’s wish that the good things of the world should be distributed with some evenness. God does not want there to be some people with more than they can use, while others die of hunger.
Of course there are some people living well on unemployment benefits. It would be good to cut off benefits to those undeserving.
But, with unemployment hovering around ten percent, and with twenty percent of Americans living below the poverty line, it is clear that those cheaters are only a small segment of the needy.
If we make drastic cuts in our aid to the poor we might be able both to balance our budget and punish those free loaders. But then, we might as well have a yard sale to get rid of our Bibles.