Health Care & College Education?
Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Matthew 22:37-40
Why is there suffering and tragedy in the world when God is said to be so loving, and when God Himself declared the creation to be “Very Good” (Gen. 1:31)? The book “Eden to Evil” gives the answers to these questions and many more that have plagued and confused our church leaders for generations.
Because suffering, tragedy, and inequality are part of our lives, God gave us guidelines to follow—Social Justice guidelines—but once again, mankind is distorting the Bible AND God’s teachings.
What exactly is “Social Justice?” Social Justice is an obligation that we, as individuals are admonished to do… to share love, concern, and care for those less fortunate in this life. How we accomplish this (whether through individual effort, or through governmental action), is the challenge every society grapples with. Social justice is showing true love, and actually taking responsibility for our actions toward others. Should we ignore those in need, or care for them as we are able. Some consider social justice to be a right to be enjoyed by those less fortunate…meaning that there are minimal obligations that individuals and society must meet in order to be humane. Some consider social justice to be a responsibility…meaning that individuals and society must care for those in need.
Each individual must determine exactly what is the minimal standard necessary to care for those in need. In ancient times, and still in some parts of the world today, the minimal standard is a plot of ground to be buried in. That’s it…many people and societies cannot afford anything else. Everyone deserves a decent burial, and this can be accomplished by individuals as well as societies. Some consider clean water to be the minimal standard that an individual or society may be able to accomplish.
Today, many more developed societies consider free full-blown medical care and free college education to be included in the minimal required standards. These very large social programs cannot be accomplished by individuals, and therefore these require the government to step in and take resources from some people in order to give things to others…not a charitable act, but a re-distributive act from those who have to those who don’t have. Unfortunately, at this point in history, the governments which are attempting to provide free college and free full-blown medical care are failing and broke—operating in deficits financially—borrowing from future generations to pay for today’s programs. Mankind cannot yet really accomplish these lofty goals. There is not enough money in the world.
This raises the question of whether government can actually accomplish what God intended, which was for individual people (not necessarily government), to show love and charity. And, as societies develop, and the list of what should be included in the social justice requirements grows, a question comes up… Who says what is to be on the list of social justice requirements? Is there a limit? One thing God does tell us is that His followers are to be generous with the poor, but His followers are not to borrow the money needed (Deut. 15:5-8, 28:12). Further, God tells His followers that if funds are borrowed, that no interest should be paid on the borrowed funds. Obviously, America as a nation is not following God.
Today, in America, we break both of these rules in trying to accomplish “social justice.”Who established the social justice standards a Christian must meet in order to be considered a loving person? Jesus did! Jesus described the social justice standards concerning each individual in Matthew 25:31-46. The question is whether this is all there is, or is there something else? In other words, if we do these things and nothing else, have we really shown true love to our friends and neighbors? Or, have we only done the minimal things necessary? If a person is able, should the list be limited to food, water, clothing, shelter, and visiting, and very limited medical care like at the time of Jesus?
When Jesus said these things, medical care was extremely limited, and Jesus was saying we, as individuals, need to care for others the best we can. Mother Teresa said of all the places she visited in her lifetime, the least loving was New York City, where people stepped over people laying on the sidewalk dying. She had no great medical hospital, but what she gave those dying was more important…holding the hand of someone dying…loving them. Should we try to include free college education and free extreme medical care as social justice entitlements through the government? Certainly, these are all worthy goals…if a society can afford them. Most individuals cannot. And, that is the point isn’t it…that, in reality, only God can truly meet all of our needs. Even the greatest individuals, and governments cannot fix everything. Furthermore, even if we include “free” education and “free” extreme medical care, have we really accomplished what Jesus was aiming at…truly loving one another? Is there more than these physical things that Jesus wants us to focus on? Are there things that true love requires that are not in Matthew 25:31-46?
Actual true love means giving others the most important thing they need, which is the truth. The truth is that without Jesus we will all perish and suffer. With Jesus, a person will experience eternal life in Paradise, as well as peace of mind in this life…despite our physical or mental condition. We will all experience pain and suffering, and be diagnosed with a disease perhaps, and suffer the death of a loved one, as well as die ourselves. But, with Jesus we experience peace of mind in knowing that this life is only temporary–a new life awaits.
We are living a life separated from God until we surrender to Jesus and His ways of life. For those who do not surrender to Jesus, they will remain separated, and never experience peace of mind in this world. We are all sinners (Rom. 3:10-12, 23), born into this world separated from God due to sin, and we will all suffer troubles in this life (see the book Eden to Evil—Target Truth Ministries.com). When we become “born again,” (John 3:1-6), we develop a personal relationship with God and begin a life of changing from the world’s ways, to God’s ways. We receive from God, not wealth as seen by the world, but the wealth of knowing God, which gives us peace of mind, so that no matter what the world throws as us… even death…that we are satisfied and at peace in being part of God’s kingdom, and not hung up with the world’s problems (John 18:36). Unfortunately, people, and even some churches, promote what man sees as social justice, which today includes things which God is opposed to. People, and even some churches, use Jesus’ words as the basis for social justice, and then add a few ungodly items to it.
The United States was a great nation. Why? Because God blessed us. We worshiped Jesus Christ. We included reverence to God as part of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. We included biblical studies in all our schools for years, and only since WWII, have we stricken the Bible and the subject of Jesus Christ from education. Today, even our churches, just as our nation, are slowly going in the wrong direction.
This is exactly what Jesus said would happen in the end-times (Matt. 24:10-13). Freedom, perhaps. Prosperity, perhaps. But, at what cost? Today’s definitions of freedom and prosperity are tied to perverted lives — lives without Jesus at their center. Jesus is no longer a priority. The way of the world is now using this diluted church, cold to true worship, and into “experiencing a high feeling,” or learning how to set up a “family budget plan,” or how to “eat for life,” and, of course, “social justice” (the works mentality of the church), in an effort to pull people away from the actual worship of God’s ways. Social concerns are good things, but they should not take the place of priority number one: the worship of Jesus, as Lord and Savior—and following His ways (Deut. 6:4-9)
Our obligation as Christians is not only to have a concern for this life, which is just temporary, but to have a view of life as everlasting and eternal…lasting well beyond this short existence we experience today.
So, did Jesus point to something even higher than social justice (works which focus only on this life and this world), that we are to be concerned with? We read in Matthew 22:37-40, that we are to love God with all our heart, and soul, and mind…and then, we are to love others. In other words, our first priority is to love God…which means also following His leading and His ways…not the world’s ways. We all know that we basically are all lovers of self (2 Tim. 1-5). This is our natural sinful tendency when we come into this world—a selfish attitude and direction. But, Jesus wants us to be “born again” (John 3:1-6), and develop this relationship with Him, and leave the world behind (Eph. 4:20-27; Rom. 12:1-2).
This means that all our efforts to accomplish social justice (even if we, through government, can provide “free” college, and “free” extended medical care), will only accomplish sending a person to hell on a full stomach, dressed in a suit, with a full set of teeth, and surrounded by their friends as they die.
Without sharing priority number one (worship God with all your heart, and soul, and mind), a person simply remains separated from God, and will suffer eternity—all eternity—in hell (hell is separation from God and His kingdom). And, this is exactly how most societies proceed with their attempts at social justice. God is not even mentioned.
In America, God is even restricted from the conversation! The government is willing to provide people with lots of help such as free needles if you need to do drugs, free condoms if you need to have sex, and even adopting the concept of “marriage” for whatever union a person may have in mind, in order to meet tax exemption and social security benefits. If you feel you need to commit suicide, there are even government funded doctors in many nations in the world, and some states in America, which will pay to eliminate you. There is no concern for your life beyond the grave. In America today, you can get free food, free medical, free dental, free housing, free clothing, and in many cases even free phones, free cars, gas, and insurance, and the list goes on and on.
There is no problem with many of the social justice outreach programs if there is unlimited money to pay for them (actually, today, the American government is printing the money necessary to give people benefits because even if they taxed couples earning over $250,000 a year at 100%, it would only pay for these social programs for a few weeks—thus the growth of the national debt— $2.4 billion a day in debt—that is over one million dollars every minute, every day, of debt). But, even if we were able to support financially all these programs, without Jesus they all lead to a dead end—literally! A dead end!
If we follow God’s teaching (Matt. 22:37-40), we would make sure that all the glory and credit for any social justice action, whether by an individual (who Jesus was referring to), or by the government, would go to God. And, because God is the priority, we would be submitting ourselves to His ways, and His leading. We would focus on our eternal life first, and this life second. We would recognize that all eternity is much, much, longer that the few short years we exist on this planet. This means, if we follow God’s ways, that along with social justice programs for this life, we would not celebrate abortion, or euthanasia, or gay marriage, or unions outside of marriage, or any other ungodly actions in this life.
These are all sins against God. We would put God first, and His ways first, and then people around us next, caring for them the best we can. Fortunately, God is forgiving if we will seek His forgiveness, change, and follow Him (John 8:1-11).
Jesus, in His own words, reminds us—in fact He warns us—to return to our first priority…our first love (Rev. 2:4), or suffer eternal separation.
Jesus reminds us that social justice alone is useless—it is a dead end…literally, if we ignore God’s Word and His teachings (Matt. 4:4).
Jesus, in His prayer for us, reminds us that the Word of God is truth…to ignore God’s Word will only lead to permanent death and separation for all eternity (John 17:17).
Jesus Himself told us how wasted our efforts at social justice are, if we ignore God’s Word and His truth (Luke 14:26).
Jesus, in Matthew 25, was referring to individuals, and how we as individuals should endeavor to provide for others in need. As far as government goes, we can all understand how a government can get carried away with social justice without God. Government is only concerned with this world. But, what is shocking is how many so-called Christian churches have abandoned putting God as first priority (the priority of Jesus and His teachings—God’s ways), and have joined with government in promoting social justice based only upon Jesus’ teaching to individuals in Matthew 25:31-46 (food, clothing, housing, etc.), and ignoring that we are to love God first and follow His ways first. Many so-called Christian churches even embrace abortion as “choice” and euthanasia as “humanitarian” and gay marriage as “non-discriminatory” and ignore Jesus’ teaching on life, and to abhor abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage, and other things opposed to God. How should Christians respond? Matthew 22:37-40…then, Matthew 25:31-46. Christians cannot simply perform the works of social justice and ignore God’s priority of His ways of life and love.
To truly love someone, we must share the truths of God concerning their eternal life…not just this short life here today. We, as Christians, cannot love a person, and ignore their eternal destiny. The government on the other hand, is only concerned with this life, then, after that, perhaps a burial plot. But, Jesus did not give these social justice guidelines to government…He gave them to you and I as individuals…to help whenever and however we can. We are limited…government is limited…but God is not. God has provided for what is truly important—eternal life with Jesus in Paradise for all those who will surrender to Him…follow His ways. Let us be about God’s social justice plan, truly loving others, and not the government’s so-called social justice plan which places God on the shelf while promising you a healthy, well fed body until death, and then a grave site when needed (a promise no government can actually keep).
These are God’s ways for His followers to act:
We are to feed people food, and also the Word of God.
We should see people housed, and invite them into the kingdom of God.
We should see people clothed, and invite them to wrap themselves in the righteousness of God.
We need to care for people with the love of God, providing all care possible—even health care and education, if possible… without borrowing money. John 14:1-6