Monday, May 3, 2010

Money & power, crime and sin

This set of thoughts, which I hope everyone finds helpful, is more about human nature and God's relationship with humans, than a classic Bible study or commentary type of blogging.

Here's the problem. The Bible states that money is the root of all evil. First you need to understand there are two types of over fondness of money, and hence it's misuse. The first problem is to love money more than anything else, including believing in, fearing and obeying God. Thus many people love money for itself above all other relationships, both their human relationships and their relationship with God. The second problem is to love money for the power that it gives you over other people, or over elements of God's creation. For example, some people do not crave money and its luxuries, as do the first category of people, but they crave money because it buys power and control over others. So this is why St Paul and others trace just about every human evil back to its roots of money.

There is a third problem, whereby decent ordinary people do not love money, or crave its power, but will do evil things because they feel boxed into doing so in order to survive. This is a third category which is involuntary slavery to money or, rather, the people who control and dispense the money. People who dole out money to those who need it in return for making the people do unethical things are the second category of people (the money as power lovers) while those who accept the money out of either genuine or perceived need are this third category, those who are enslaved to money and its power.

Understanding that, you must recognize that there are three inevitabilities that each person with this unhealthy relationship (whether category 1, 2 or e) with money participate in. One is crime. Two is sin. Three is both crime and sin.

By the way, it is tempting to believe that all crime is also a sin. While that is usually true, I need to teach you all thoughtfulness, in order to see the shades of nuances correctly. It is not a sin, for example, to disobey a law or authority (and thus be branded a criminal) if that law or authority is not righteous toward God or fellow human beings. So one can be, like the early Christians, a "criminal" who breaks a "law" or "authority" when one refuses to worship idols. That, then, is a crime that is not a sin and, actually, in this example, a virtue.

The problem is that many people rationalize love of money as being kind of a "Robin Hood," and thus not criminal or sinful. They are wrong because the premise (love of money or its power) is not in service of God because one cannot use a human tool (money) to serve God, who is above and beyond all those things. God wants your attention and obedience; not your money, either to him or in his supposed "service." There is no way that a person can love money and then make rational decisions about "how God would 'want' the money spent." One has to be a good Christian, Jew or Muslim first, with a solid untarnished relationship with God, before one can even make baby steps in deciding "how Jesus" or "how God" would "want" money spent in his service. Remember, the Apostles observed first hand how Jesus taught them these things, yet one still fell, in part due to money, Judas Iscariot. If Judas Iscariot was troubled in deciding "how God would want the money spent," what makes any human alive think he or she is well equipped to know better? Especially a human who is far from being perfected in their relationship with God and God alone? Love of money and power (including the very seductive power to be a "do gooder") is by definition a BARRIER to understand God.

Now, here is something you need to understand about me personally. I have no interest in being a "crime buster," I never have and I never will. Part of my calling and my ministry is to tell everyone the same thing, which is the reality of God's word as it is in the Torah, in the Bible, and in the Qur'an. In other words, there is only one God, and His word is constant, the only truth, and irrefutable. So if I met the worst criminals in the world, I have no concern about their crimes or their sins. I have concern that they do not understand the consequences of those crimes and sins, the consequences that will be rendered by God, and not by human beings. I would sit down face to face with even the worst criminals and say, "Friend, you need more information before you continue, and that information is that God is real, judgment is real, and that hell is real and that, further, unlike jokes and cartoons, hell is un-endurable, and no one there is 'handling' it." I would not be interested in attempting to persuade them away from their crime or sin. I simply deliver God's truth and leave it up to them.

I hope that you have found this helpful.