World’s major religions teach that their God wants a happy, healthy and good life for everyone. The religions also teach that the followers should try and make the world a better and equal place for themselves and others to live in. Despite these beliefs and teachings the world today is still a place where there are many people poor and suffering whilst others have wealth and luxurious living conditions. In the world today there is a division between the rich and the poor. Generally, it is seen for the richer people to be living in the north of the Equator and the poor in the South.
There is an enormous difference in the lifestyle of the rich and poor. People in rich countries have many problems such as over eating which causes obesity and for which they have to loose weight by simply eating less. Housing for the richer is both safe and warm. Everyone living in a richer country has access to pure, clean water. For the rich when fashion changes, their wardrobes change’s which are usually filled with unworn clothes which they throw away, many people have different types of clothing for specific different occasions which means spending more money.
Many rich people can be educated for as long as they wish, therefore also have a range of jobs for which they can apply for suiting themselves. In addition, to this every being living in the richer world has some type of health service provision provided for them. However, on the other hand in the poorer world, the developing countries there is often a daily struggle for food which often inadequate. Many, people young and old suffer from starvation. Many also suffer from diseases caused by malnutrition plus, 1. 1 billion people do not have access to clean and safe water.
The living conditions are also very poor as there are many people living in shacks made by others rubbish or if not in over crowded and unsafe conditions. Health services are very poor as there is very less of it and is located at far distances. In Christianity it is taught that caring for the poor is an obligation and not an option for those who love God. In the Bible, the main theme of the teachings is to treat people in need. It is also said that God will judge people on the basis of how much concern they have shown for the poor.
The parable of the Sheep and Goats in Mathew’s Gospel clearly illustrates this point. The parable of sheep and the goats is found in Mathew 25, in the New Testament, the parable is told by Jesus. It clearly instructs Christians to help and support others. The parable explains how God will judge people and separate them in the same way a farmer separates the sheep from the goats. It also says that some people will be rewarded, for the reason that they have fed the hungry, given clothes to the needy welcomed strangers and visited the sick.
For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in” (Mathew 25:35) Those people who have done these virtues they will be the ones by God’s side of eternity. However, on the other hand others will be punished as they have not done any of these things, and have ignored the needy. Jesus explained that when people care for each other, it is the same as caring for him. Christians believe showing love towards God involves caring about all the other creations of God. “And he has given us this command.
Whoever loves God must also love his brother. ” (1 john 4:21) This quote clearly states that God has given a command which is if you love him you must love your brother. Meaning you must love all the other people that God has created in the same way as he created you. The parable of ‘The story of the rich man and Lazarus’ teaches that people have been told for many centuries that they must not ignore the poor, and they have no excuses. The story is about a rich man who lived in luxury, while a beggar who lived outside his front gate had nothing and was ignored by the rich man.
When the beggar and rich man passed away, the beggar was sent to heaven and the rich man was sent to hell. The rich man then asked to be allowed to warn his brothers of the consequences of ignoring the poor; however he was then told that they had, had many warnings already from the prophets. “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire. ” (Luke 16:19-24) In the Old Testament, the prophets often preached a warning of the punishment in store for people who did not treat the poor with more consideration.
The laws that the people were given after the Exodus gave clear guidelines about how to care for the poor and avoid exploiting them: “If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an immigrant or a temporary resident, so that he can continue to live among you. You must lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit” (Leviticus 25:35. 37) This quote simply says that if someone becomes poor and cannot maintain themselves with you, you should maintain them, as a stranger and they shall live with you for a period of time.
The amount of time they are capable of maintaining themselves. For this you should not take any type of interest from them in any way such as money or provide them with something that will be benefiting you in the future or at the time. The poor were shown to have a special place with God. As all the Gospel writers show that Jesus always taught the message of love for others and concern and care for the weak. For Jesus the poor were just as important and equal as the rich.
The main message of Christianity includes the poor as equals with everyone else. Some of Jesus’ teachings say “Blessed are you who are poor, or yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, For you will laugh” (Luke 6:20-21) This teaching teaches that if you are poor today, you will be blessed because the Kingdom of God in other words the doors of heaven would be open to you. Jesus taught in both of his words and actions that ‘agape’- Love is not just a feeling but it has to be put into practice. Two of the greatest commandments support this; “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength
You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31) There are many different passages and biblical teachings of how Christians should treat the poor. The other two main teaching of treating the poor in Christianity are the parable of ‘The principal of agape’ and the teaching of ‘The prophet Amos’. The principal of agape means un-conditional love. In the principal of agape Jesus preached that people should show their love for God by being and showing love towards their neighbour, by this he meant everyone including strangers and enemies. He also taught that “always treat others the way you would like to be treated”.
In addition to this Christians should empathise with the poor. They should treat the poor in the way they would like to be treated if they were poor. Giving should be done generously, frequently and done in a way that preserves the dignity of those who are less fortunate. The book of Amos is found in the Old Testament. Amos warned the people that God would send terrible and harsh punishments unless they treated the poor and the weak with more care. Amos taught that God is not interested in listening to worship and prayers if the people ignore the poor.