Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Homelessness: true poverty vs the sluggard

 We've all had to deal with a plethora of homeless people and for those of us in Democrat run states and near Democrat cities, even more so.  It's often caused conflict in me because on the one hand, Scripture says we're to be generous with what the Lord gives, giving to the poor when He leads and not abusing them or devaluing them since He created the poor and rich alike. On the other hand, most of the homeless today is really just another community, constituency, industry, or whatever you want to call it, where the homeless are typically (not always, but typically) drug users, thieves, sexually immoral, and lazy. Some are demon possessed.  They take from the hard working, law abiding citizens. They are typically rebellious people who refuse to live according to our laws and policies, desiring to live on their own by their "own" rules.  

Now things are so bad that they dump their feces and needles on the sidewalks, take over multiple blocks (some up to miles) with their trash and tents. They are often aggressive to the poor soul who has to pass by them, and frequently they attack others, usually again, passers-by. Leftists and liberals have refused to deal with the homeless problem and instead see them as a way to pretend to care, using them as a way to get money, and basically has turned the homeless into a constituency, creating laws they think are compassionate, but aren't--not for the homeless and not for the victims of their crimes--the law abiding citizens. It's big money to say you fight for the homeless.

Where else but in say, CA, Los Angeles, to be exact, will you find tens of thousands of homeless people who get free housing, free houses, free medical care, free food, free lawyers and activists, and never have to go to prison or be fined for violating the law (even keeping prohibited items like illegal drugs and guns in lockers in said homeless villages) while the rest of us face pay them for that AND we are charged or ticked or jailed for violations of the law?

There's something wrong here. And as I study through Proverbs I finally understood what I was trying to deal with in my mind regarding the conflicting issues. 

Scripture makes a difference between the poor and needy (truly poor and truly needy) versus the sluggard. Most of what we see today in these big swaths of homeless are sluggards, refusing to work for their food. There's a huge difference between the man who was laid off of his job of multiple years and wants to find another job, and those who refuse to work (you can even throw in the welfare generations with this). 

This isn't meant to be a detailed treatment of the issue, but to list Scriptures that DO deal with this issue. While I have looked up many of these verses, I'm not including the context here, but leave it to you to do a study of it yourself. This is just meant to show that there IS a difference between a truly poor or needy person and the lazy sluggard who refuses to work in order to eat.

I do believe that making welfare limited to two years and have obligations that go with it (work to get the money) would cause many to stop being lazy and take responsibility for their own lives and livelihood. Sometimes it's the action of working to get room and board that brings back "pride" or ownership in working an honest day for an honest wage and restores the "hope" back to the one who was caught in giving up. 

What Scripture says about the poor:

Pro_14:31  He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.

Pro_17:5  He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker; He who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished.

Pro_19:17  One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed.

Pro_20:13  Do not love sleep, or you will become poor; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food.
Pro_21:13  He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be answered.
Pro_21:17  He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.
Pro_22:2  The rich and the poor have a common bond, The LORD is the maker of them all.

Pro 22:22  Do not rob the poor because he is poor, Or crush the afflicted at the gate; 

Pro 22:23  For the LORD will plead their case And take the life of those who rob them. 

Twelve times Proverbs talks about the sluggard.

Pro_6:6  Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise,
Pro_6:9  How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?
Pro_13:4  The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, But the soul of the diligent is made fat.
Pro_19:24  The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, But will not even bring it back to his mouth.
Pro_20:4  The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, So he begs during the harvest and has nothing.
Pro_21:25  The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, For his hands refuse to work;
Pro_22:13  The sluggard says, "There is a lion outside; I will be killed in the streets!"
Pro_24:30  I passed by the field of the sluggard And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense,
Pro_26:13  The sluggard says, "There is a lion in the road! A lion is in the open square!"
Pro_26:14  As the door turns on its hinges, So does the sluggard on his bed.
Pro_26:15  The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; He is weary of bringing it to his mouth again.
Pro_26:16  The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes Than seven men who can give a discreet answer.

Then there's the verses about the lazy:

Pro_10:26  Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, So is the lazy one to those who send him.

Pro_12:27  A lazy man does not roast his prey, But the precious possession of a man is diligence.
Pro_15:19  The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns, But the path of the upright is a highway.

Pro 28:19  He who tills his land will have plenty of food, But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty. 

And stealing food because of actual hunger is not excused by God: Pro 6:30  Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry; 31  But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold; He must give all the substance of his house. 

In dealing with the poor in Israel, there was still limitations regarding his property: 

Lev 25:24  'Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land.  Lev 25:25  'If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold.  Lev 25:26  'Or in case a man has no kinsman, but so recovers his means as to find sufficient for its redemption,  Lev 25:27  then he shall calculate the years since its sale and refund the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and so return to his property.  Lev 25:28  'But if he has not found sufficient means to get it back for himself, then what he has sold shall remain in the hands of its purchaser until the year of jubilee; but at the jubilee it shall revert, that he may return to his property.  Lev 25:29  'Likewise, if a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, then his redemption right remains valid until a full year from its sale; his right of redemption lasts a full year.  Lev 25:30  'But if it is not bought back for him within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city passes permanently to its purchaser throughout his generations; it does not revert in the jubilee.  Lev 25:31  'The houses of the villages, however, which have no surrounding wall shall be considered as open fields; they have redemption rights and revert in the jubilee. 

Deu 15:7  "If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother;  Deu 15:8  but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.  Deu 15:9  "Beware that there is no base thought in your heart, saying, 'The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,' and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you.  Deu 15:10  "You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.  Deu 15:11  "For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.' 

Deu 1:17  'You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not fear man, for the judgment is God's. The case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.' 
And lending to the poor and needy: 

Deu 24:10  "When you make your neighbor a loan of any sort, you shall not enter his house to take his pledge.  Deu 24:11  "You shall remain outside, and the man to whom you make the loan shall bring the pledge out to you.  Deu 24:12  "If he is a poor man, you shall not sleep with his pledge.  Deu 24:13  "When the sun goes down you shall surely return the pledge to him, that he may sleep in his cloak and bless you; and it will be righteousness for you before the LORD your God.  Deu 24:14  "You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your countrymen or one of your aliens who is in your land in your towns.  Deu 24:15  "You shall give him his wages on his day before the sun sets, for he is poor and sets his heart on it; so that he will not cry against you to the LORD and it become sin in you. 

Scripture teaches the Christians that laziness and being undisciplined is sinful: 2Th 3:7  For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,  2Th 3:8  nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you;  2Th 3:9  not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example.  2Th 3:10  For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.  2Th 3:11  For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 
2Th 3:12  Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. 

And the family of widows in deed are to care for their own so as not to be an unnecessary burden on the local church:
1Ti 5:3  Honor widows who are widows indeed;  1Ti 5:4  but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God