“He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.” -Proverbs 17:5 (NIV)
The poor and suffering are all around us. Whether they are images on a television screen, people we encounter on our streets, or even within our own circle of friends and relatives, they are there as an ever present reality. What is our reaction to such situations? How often have we borne witness to scenes of poverty and misery by simply saying to ourselves “I’m glad it isn’t me”. I daresay that this has become our standard response. Not only does it reflect a highly individualistic and indifferent attitude towards those afflicted by suffering, but it is essentially flaunting our perceived success in the faces of those who are in torment. The truth is that in this earthly world nothing is permanent, and all our treasures could vanish in an instant.
Christ has called us by His example to not only show concern for the poor and downtrodden, but to tangibly assist them in their hour of need both physically and spiritually. All men, whether rich or poor, content or distressed, are created in the image of God. As such, to adopt an attitude of indifference or a perceived sense of superiority over others because of our own pleasant circumstances shows a disdain for God Himself. When our hearts are filled with pride, we idolize our achievements and become selfish with the resources God has given us. But when we surrender ourselves to Christ by personally accepting His redemptive sacrifice for our sins and allowing Him to invade our hearts, He will work to shatter our egocentric attitudes and replace them with His love. When we allow His love to overflow through us, our interactions with those around us will change dramatically. We will look for opportunities to display the love which Christ has shown us; seeking to be by His enabling, living examples of who He is and the hope which is available through Him.