He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor

Proverbs 28:8

OK, God. I have been pitying the poor for about 30 years now. Maybe 40 if you count that in fourth grade I cheerfully tutored Scott Halsey in reading, even though he was not listening, even once. The irony here is that the only sense in which I am gathering the substance of the unjustly rich is by waiting on them – Is-every-tiny-little-thing-just-perfect? – for tips.
Somehow I felt the proverb implied happenings more cosmic, more laden with poetic justice.

I make the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

True. But why am I spending my time and my energy on these who have so much? The world is surely full of people who could use my care more than these spoiled people dining out at the FancyAss Café. They aren’t even likeable. Their wealth has turned them into something awful. They really think they are better than other people. Essentially better. Smarter, and more deserving. More courageous.
Isn’t there some way I can care for really needy people and find a living in it? This just looks so backward.
Isn’t this odious to you, a stench in your nostrils and all that?

I make the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

Are you saying that you love the rich as much as the poor?

The rich have their consolation, and the poor are blessed, because, like you, they have eyes to see God.

So, why am I wasting my time waiting on people too blind to see anything or anyone beyond themselves?

Because I have asked you to. Love your enemies. Do good to them who think they are better than others because they drive a Porsche. To every guest who asks you if the Tomato and Mushroom Pasta has mushrooms, ask her also if she likes mushrooms.
For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? For sinners also do even the same.

Are you saying you want me to love the rich? To pity them?

It is easy for you to pity the poor. No one pities these. Learn of their suffering.

Their suffering? You must be kidding. They are not suffering. They are making people suffer. Me, for example.

Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Is that what you mean when you say you send the rain on the rich and the poor? You are showing mercy on everyone?

You are beginning to understand.

So, if I learn to love the rich, and feel their pain, will I finally get to go work in the favelas of Sao Paulo?

No answer.

Marlene B. Lang, Ph.D.— October 24, 2011

Featured Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

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