|by C.J. Chase|
If you follow the news much, you've probably heard of the Occupy __ protests happening in cities across America. They started in New York with the Occupy Wall Street protest and spread not only across America, but to cities and towns around the world.
People have joined the protests for reasons as varied as the protestors. Some are angry with corporate greed. Some want the government to do more to regulate business, but others are angry about government-corporate cronyism. Some want debt forgiveness and minimum living standards for everyone. A few are there for the party. Many are advocates of socialism or other non-capitalist based economic structures that seek to treat everyone the same financially.
Noble motives. But a funny thing happened on the way to the egalitarian future. Recent news articles about the Occupy Wall Street protest have included complaints of theft and other crimes among the protestors. Some of the protestors are unhappy the OWS leaders have not equitably divided the $500,000 the protests have raised thus far in contributions. Theft, unequal distribution of assets -- all the things the protestors have complained about are happening among the protestors. It seems many of those with the supposedly noble motives of equality and justice have the same sinful nature that has corrupted every society since God evicted Adam and Eve from the garden.
Greed tears apart families, communities, countries, and even churches. It causes divorces, church splits, and wars. "My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain." (Ezekial 33:31)
"We are the 99%" is a popular slogan of many Occupy protests, a statement against the disproportionate wealth of the top 1%, wealth that many Occupiers believe should be taxed at higher rates and shared with the other 99%. And yet, how many of these protestors advocating college loan forgiveness realize that on a planet where half the population still doesn't have access to clean drinking water, just by virtue of being born in America and other Western countries, they themselves are among the wealthiest people in all of world history?
No one, neither rich nor poor, is immune from greed. King Ahab murdered to obtain a vineyard, even though he already had untold wealth. David, a man "after God's own heart" murdered to obtain a woman, even though he already had multiple wives. Even the poor man in Jesus' parable, the one who received pardon for an immense debt, wouldn't follow his lord's generous example, but demanded payment from a man who owed him only an pittance.
During my travels in Central America, one thing I have noticed is how detrimental unchecked greed is to a society. Where bribery and corruption run rampant, poverty and despair follow. Imagine what your life would be like if every interaction with government -- every assistance you needed from the police, every trip to the DMV -- might be accompanied by the expectation of a bribe. Would you want to start a business knowing that with every change of government, you would have to bribe a new set of officials just to keep your business open?
I hope those involved in the Occupy protests learn the right lessons from their experiences. Greed is a part of the human condition, and there will never be an egalitarian paradise until Jesus returns. Only a changed heart can change behavior: "But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance." (Romans 6:17)
Do you have any adult-sized pencils you don't want to let go of?
After leaving the corporate world to stay home with her children, C.J. Chase quickly learned she did not possess the housekeeping gene. She decided writing might provide the perfect excuse for letting the dust bunnies accumulate under the furniture. Her procrastination, er, hard work paid off in 2010 when she won the Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Manuscript and sold the novel to Love Inspired Historicals. Redeeming the Rogue was an August, 2011 release. You can visit C.J.'s cyber-home (where the floors are always clean) at cjchasebooks.com