Monday, December 03, 2012

New Boots are Not the Answer; Moral Renewal Is

"Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." - Matthew 9:2


Millions of Americans, including me, were moved when we learned that a NY police officer spent $100 of his own money to buy a homeless man boots on a freezing cold day.     Now we get reports that the homeless man is again wandering around NY City barefoot.    He says he is hiding the boots from fear of getting killed over them, but many wonder if there is a more disappointing explanation.   At any rate, the man has a brother who has expressed a willingness to take him into his home at any time, but also says that his brother "has chosen this lifestyle."

Our post-modern era of decline believes that social work consists primarily of providing the material needs of man.  Matters of the spirit are of little or no consequence.   Such thinking could not be more mistaken.   The wise-fools who run our post-truth culture start by discounting the existence of God.  Since they do not know who God is, they do not know who Man is, and as a consequence are incapable of even asking the right questions, much less getting the correct answers, on issues of public policy.

Jesus understood clearly the correct order of priorities when ministering to needy persons.   In Matthew, a paralyzed man was lowered through the roof by his friends so that Jesus might heal his body.  This man had physical needs that were far more urgent than those of the subway beggar.   In spite of the importance of this, before Jesus ministered to his physical need, He started with the man's spiritual needs.  "Your sins are forgiven  you." he told the man.    Today, it would be a scandal if social workers ever even told their "clients" that they had sins which needed forgiving.   The most critical area of life cannot be addressed under the post-modern paradigm.   

What good is it to buy a man shoes if he uses the money for the next drug fix?  What good is it to restore movement to a paralyzed body if that restored ability is used to pursue a degrading life of sin all the way down the road to Hell?  Before Jesus gave him his body back, He put the man's soul in order.   Our ruling class has bankrupted the nation in part because they attempt to solve social problems in ignorance of the true root causes.   

That is sad enough, but what is even worse is that many alleged Christian churches suffer from the same ignorance.   They really think that social work begins, and in practice ends, with the provision of material goods to those who lack them.    It is difficult for me to muster much outrage at governments who won't follow the Divine wisdom of Christ on the matter when even so-called Christian churches refuse to do so.

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