By Annie Bower
God loves the poor. He seems to have a special place in his heart for those who have little. Scripture often speaks of the Lord providing for (Psalm 68:10) and securing justice (Psalm 140:12) for the poor. Believers are called to help and look out for those that are poverty-stricken (Luke 14:13, Leviticus 19:10).
I used to love the poor. In high school I was filled with indescribable joy as I gave my porcelain doll collection to a toy drive. I pictured an impoverished little girl finding a beautiful doll on Christmas morning. Her meager Christmas would be saved due to my gift, and she would forever cherish the doll. During that time in my life I loved the poor.
My love for the poor has diminished considerably over the last year and a half. At this point in my life, I cannot say that I love the poor.
In fact, it would be more truthful for me to say I have contempt for the poor. It hurts my heart to admit that I have been put to the test and no longer have any compassion left. You are probably wondering how I have so suddenly become such a scrooge. The answer lies in the fact that I currently hold a position in the field of social work.
My organization mostly works with the underprivileged population. Day in and day out, I witness healthy individuals receiving welfare to sit at home and watch TV rather than getting a job.
Parents sell the government-issued food they received for their malnourished toddler in order to buy cigarettes. Families receive money for their disabled child and squander it on trashy movies and video games. They are the first to show up when something is being handed out and the last to show any sign of gratitude. Now, I want to clarify that not all of the underprivileged population abuses the system. There are many families that I respect for their hard work and integrity. However, I have experienced dishonesty and abuse, which has taken me to the place I am in right now.
I am called to love the poor. I am not called to judge the poor for how they arrived at their economic status. I should not resent them because I think they should be working. I should not look down at them, because they are abusing the system. Yet, that is so hard for me to do. How can I be so full of pride and arrogance? What if I were in their situation?
I believe God loves the poor and so should I. When I show my love, they will see Gods love. God will take care of changing what needs to be changed. I can do nothing through contempt and disdain. I must come in love.
It is my prayer that God will restore my compassion for the poor. I want my heart to match my Heavenly Fathers in His love for the poor.
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Annie Bower , of Somerset, PA, is currently backpacking the globe. You can read more of her stories about traveling the world here .