13 Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger;
hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider.
I remember a school master at Plympton Grammar School reading from the King James Version (KJV) Bible. He read 1 Corinthians 13 and in the place of ‘love’ he read ‘charity’. I have thought of charity along the lines of handouts that are given to the weak. People I respected growing up would snarl, “I don’t need your charity!” when someone tried to help them. The traditional view of ‘charity’, helping the weak is upheld in Proverbs 27:13. However, many of my Christian friends in America are skeptical of helping the poor in America. If we go beyond charity to welfare, you might anticipate the kind of discussions I have. Charity from the church, or welfare from the state are seen as cushions that encourage laziness. It is funny how charitable Americans are to those overseas, but often less charitable to a person on welfare in their own country. It is argued that the church administrates more righteously than the government, and more efficiently too. I have not seen data to back this up, I would like to see some evidence that the church is actually less wasteful than the government. Also, who helps the agnostic and atheist to show charity to their neighbour?
When someone comes to us in dire straits and is in need of cash, the principle of the passage is that God would have us pawn their belongings for them. We should help someone in their time of need. Welfare and charities are often broken, but does that mean we should eliminate them?
Another side to this is the ability to accept charity. It is easier for the proud to give magnanimously than it is to humble ourselves and accept that we need charity. If we take charity back to 1 Corinthians 13. We all need to give and receive charity. It is the practical love of God that flows through the community of faith.
- How does Proverbs 27:13 reflect charity?
- How are the words charity and love connected?
- How are religion and state separated in ancient Israel? How does this relate to charity?
- If the truth of God for the world is that we are socially responsible for our neighbour, how is this administrated for those who are not believers?
- Why do so many believers want to eliminate state sponsored charity (welfare)?