We were impressed by the following post from a Teachers.Net chatboard as an especially thought-provoking, well-articulated and civil position on an interesting topic, so we are sharing it here in case you missed it. We encourage you to use the Discussion forum following the posts to react and continue the dialog.
We do not get good times or bad times because we deserve them. We get them through the operation of economic and social forces that operate regardless of individual effort or deserving. When a plane crashes, gravity does not distinguish between the passengers who are good passengers and follow the rules about seat belts and read the card about emergency procedures and the bad passengers that didn't.
The people who make bad economic decisions will pay a price in good times or in bad. Good times may defer the price but cannot eliminate it. The people down my street who are facing being unable to pay their mortgages now would have faced the same problems a little later, but they would still have to face them. Against my and other people's advice, they paid too much for their house. Nevertheless, it isn't the economy that is causing their difficulties, it is the decisions they made. Even if the economy had simply slowed gradually in a "soft landing," or even if the boom had continued indefinitely, they would have suffered. They made unrealistic plans. They are suffering, but they would have suffered anyway.
On the other hand, people who did not buy too much house, who were careful and made good plans are finding that they are having troubles they did not expect. I worry about whether I will be able to get health care, or repair my house. I may suffer, even though I took every reasonable precaution. The small photography shop on the next street did not close because the owner was a bad businessman; he had worked hard and been successful for more than two decades. It closed because his bank suddenly stopped extending ordinary commercial credit to even good customers. The bank was worried about its own safety and reserve levels. A photographer takes, develops, and frames portraits, THEN gets paid for them. He has to buy his materials on credit. Without ordinary commercial credit, he cannot afford to do so, and he closed.
Let us not waste our time in blaming. If this crisis continues, or gets worse, good people and bad people will suffer. If it is dealt with successfully, good people and bad people will benefit.
In the long run, according to the Gospels I read, God will not ask, "Did you make prudent plans? Did you save for the future? Did you pay your bills on time?"
He will ask, "Did you feed the hungry? Did you comfort the afflicted? Did you help those who needed it?"
Please note that the questions are NOT, "Did you feed the hungry who were deserving?” “Did you comfort those who were afflicted through no fault of their own?" “Did you help those who needed it and had been prudent?" God seems to have the idea that being a human being in need is enough.
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