Recently there have been a lot of people posting on Facebook posters or commentary condemning poor people who receive public assistance. I suppose there are those who are “milking the system” but I do not believe the vast majority of those who do receive assistance are those type. Many are working poor who could not provide decent housing, clothes or food for their families without that assistance. I’ve been there a few times myself. So many times I read things that condemn people for being on public assistance and having fancy phones, buying cigarettes or alcohol among other complaints. I do not happen to agree with that sentiment. Who are we to automatically assume that if they can afford these things that they do not need assistance? Do we know that their own resources are being used for these things? Maybe a parent wants to be able to be in contact with them and has them on their own plan and are footing the bill. Maybe someone else is buying their cigarettes or beer or wine. How would we know from our own limited perspective? Why are they being viewed as lazy, substandard humans because they are”on the government dole?”
Let me tell you about my daughter. She’s the mother of two small children and for the most part her only source of income is the child support she gets. That is not always consistent. If a father loses his job there are delays until he is reemployed, if there is a holiday her payments are delayed. She gets food assistance for her family and does her best to buy healthy food for her children with the limited amount of assistance she receives. Her job is starting as an author. She has one book independently published, a second in the final stages of edit (for which I pay) and she’s started her third book. She gets a little bit of money each month from her books, but for now, it is insignificant. In addition she is home schooling her children. Her dad and I pay for the curriculum and supplies, we pay the utilities and internet service so she can write and promote her writing. She is far from lazy and is doing her best to make a life for herself and her family. One of these days I believe her efforts will pay off and she will no longer have need for food assistance. Knowing that she is a generous person I am sure that once she is self sufficient she will do much to contribute for the benefit of society and help the poor. She will never forget her beginnings.
Christ said that the poor would be with us always. He had a special affection for the poor. After all, He did tell us that it is much easier for a poor man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven than for a rich man. So just who are we to judge? Where are the churches to take of the needs of the poor so that tax dollars are not needed? Are you willing to provide for the needs of the poor? Can you give them jobs that pay a living wage? Are any of us really in a position to know their individual circumstances to have the right to make wide sweeping judgments based on the observation of outward appearances? I’m certainly not.