Woe to those who make unjust laws, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed. Isaiah 10:1,2 NIV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
Perhaps you know the Golden Rule of Jesus: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Some people twist that to say, “Do unto others before they do unto you.” In other words, get in the first punch. Don’t let your enemy or friend take advantage of you by your kindness. I had a college professor who rejected Jesus’ Golden Rule outright. He was a staunch personal responsibility guy. “Take care of yourself; don’t worry about others. Let them take care of themselves.”
Sadly, however, there are all too many people who will take care of themselves even at the expense of others’ legitimate needs. Their Golden Rule is: “Whoever has the gold makes the rules.” There are those who design laws and rules that accrue to their advantage and to the disadvantage of the weak, poor, orphan and widow. They care little for the little person because their plans are so big and important. Why let a widow stand in the way of a work of wonder that the whole world will see and appreciate? They have the gold. They make the rules.
Why, indeed? The world clamors for the latest and greatest experiences: ballparks and stadiums, urban and city-center redevelopments, entertainment venues and theme parks. Why let a few disadvantaged or weak people stand in the way of such progress? We need more highways, rail systems, better airports, and mass transportation options.
Jesus calls us to be careful of such goals. He warns of the danger of gaining the whole world and forfeiting one’s soul. God has a special place in his heart for widows, orphans and others easily overlooked by the world.
That’s good news because the pinnacle of the pyramid is supported by many layers of blocks beneath it. The weak and lowly bear the weight of too many of those who take advantage of others. I’m all for progress. It’s the American way. But justice must be equal to all if we are to be true to Jesus’ calling and God’s values.
This is good news for all people, for there will always be someone more powerful than we are, and if not, we’re easy targets for those who wish to push us off our pedestals!