I am creating a new series of articles based on my personal walk with God and my beliefs as a progressive. There is a tendency to believe that people with faith-based moral systems are opposed to the progressive movement. It is my personal mission to show both Christians and progressives that their goals are the same: to help people, especially foreigners and the poor.
God told us to take care of strangers. Exodus 23:9 states:
“Also, you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
As progressives, we agree we should not mistreat foreigners, no matter where they are from. To me, that means we should not be involved in foreign wars, nor should we exploit poorer nations for their natural resources. Christians also should agree that we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves since that was the commandment given by Jesus to all believers. In fact, Matthew 5:43-48 takes it even further:
“You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore, you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
The Bible also considers the poor a special group of people needing special attention. In fact, Deuteronomy 15 has two important provisions that we should make for the poor. Verses 1&2 state:
"At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the Lord’s release."
As progressives, we often speak of student debt cancellation and erasing high credit card debts. Many would be surprised that the Bible speaks of this already. The second major provision this chapter mentions is generosity to the poor. Verses 7 & 8 state:
“If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.”
Christians should see this as a need to notice every poor person they see while progressives (especially those who follow the works of Marx) should see this as “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” I see no difference between how the Christian and the progressive view how to treat the poor.
I hope this series will help others understand that those who truly follow the ways of the Bible are also helping others less fortunate than themselves. Progressives can see the Bible not as an obstacle, but as a bridge to be traveled with their Christian brethren. That way, progressives and Christians can truly be brothers!