Society is broken


Society is broken

If you are like me you will have experienced incompetence, unfairness, perhaps fraud and dishonesty from individuals, business and government.

Examples:

Who has called a bank or utility and not got the message “we are experiencing exceptional call levels”. If it happens most of the time it is not exceptional.

The best prices for services are available to the rich and resourceful who can search and pay on line.

Prices are often higher for those with a poor credit history etc

We only get the best broadband or insurance quote if we complain.

 

What does the bible say to business?

Leviticus 19:15

9 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest.

When someone is in debt the agencies charge extra fees, fines, send bailiffs and a small debt becomes a large one.

10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.

Someone who cannot repay a loan gets encouraged to take out another loan.

11 ‘Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.

In case you didn’t know that offer that seems to good to be true, is too good to be true.

13 Do not defraud or rob your neighbour. Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.

Every small business has experienced late payment from big businesses. There are examples every day of people being paid less than the minimum wage ~half a million jobs in the UK according to the ONS: Uber drivers, care workers not paid travel time, Argos one of the worst, they have received the biggest fine so far.

14 “‘Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord.

And yet if you have ever tried to administer the affairs of someone with a disability you might think that most organisations make it as hard as possible. 15 “‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great, but judge your neighbour fairly.

How many big company directors are ever held to account few ever go to trial it seems.

Proverbs 22

22 Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court,

23 for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life.

There are countless examples of the poor being disadvantaged. I can’t get a job because I cannot afford transport, so I cannot afford transport to find work.

The Wiltshire and Greater Manchester Constabularies persecuting Cliff Richard and Edward Heath despite an absence of any credible evidence. I believe that this was just because they were famous (poor in a way). Loss of resources.

 

Exodus 23

Laws of Justice and Mercy

1 “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.

TSB, Barclays, every big IT company…

2 “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd,

How about MPs who vote against their conscience?

4 “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it.

It is only recently that the law was changed to prevent companies (like gas and electricity) keeping customer’s overpayments unless they asked for them back.

 

 

 

What does the bible say to government?

Still Exodus 23

5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it.

Patients being delivered food in hospital but not being helped to eat…

6 “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.

Gagging orders against whistle blowers;  Senior policemen being allowed to resign rather than facing prosecution and answering for their decisions.

Poor quality social workers who seem incentivised to avoid allowing correct payments, particularly to those with disabilities.

 

7 Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.

Local government employ parking enforcement companies that impose false fines. On average 60% of appeals are successful and in some areas 80% of appeals are successful.

Hospitals fine patients who overstay because the hospitals do not keep the appointment times.

8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.

World bank estimates just under a trillion pounds per year (1,000 Billion). Africa about 30bn; Russia  about 5bn. 20% of all drug prices are made in bribes. In South Africa almost every traffic policeman. Mexico about $4bn per year mostly by drug cartels to government officials.

1/20 people in the UK have paid a bribe.

9 “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.

America, a land of immigrants, separating immigrant children from their parents.

Malta and Italy squabbling over who should accept a ship with refugees in dreadful conditions.

 

Psalm 94:20-23

Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who frame injustice by statute? They band together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. But the Lord has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge. He will bring back on them their iniquity and wipe them out for their wickedness; the Lord our God will wipe them out.

 

What does the bible say to us?

Let’s look again at Exodus 23

Exodus 23

1 “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.

To me that includes standing by and doing nothing

2 “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd.

Oh, I will pay cash to avoid VAT, everyone does it! When we “bend the rules” we are creating an environment where corruption becomes endemic. We are part of the problem.

4 If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it.

Always return lost and borrowed items to their rightful owners, even if they are your enemy. Fight injustice for those we do not like.

5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it.

Stop and help someone in trouble. Do not stand by passively when something seems wrong.

6 “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.

Help those in need to claim what is rightfully theirs, whether a DWP payment or a fair price for electricity.

7 Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.

Make sure of your facts before making comments or accusations.

9 “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.

We should go out of our way to help anyone who is struggling because of who they are or where they come from.

 

What was Jesus’ approach?

John 2

13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money.

15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.

16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”

17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

Was Jesus angry, and is it OK for us to get angry? Is there such a thing as “Righteous anger? In Matthew 5:22 Jesus says that anger is a sin.

A bit of background:

Temple was made up of concentric sections with various levels of “holiness”. This happened in the outermost area, the court of the gentiles where everyone could and would have gone or passed through. There was a law that everyone had to pay half a shekel, but the wide range of currencies meant that money had to be changed. There was also a law that everyone should give a sacrifice at the Passover, A goat or sheep for the wealthy and a dove for the poor. Presumably the oxen were for the really wealthy to show off with. Most people had to buy them, and like the bar at Wembley stadium.

Joe read from John. in Mark and Luke Jesus accused the Temple authorities of thieving and names poor widows as their victims. Dove sellers were selling doves that were sacrificed by the poor, particularly women, who could not afford the grander sacrifices of sheep and oxen.

 

 

Some commentators think that Jesus visited the temple the day before the incident; he did take time to make a whip out of cords. That must have taken a while.

  • Was he angry?
  • Was it considered action, this was also the first time he publicly talked of God as his father?
  • Does it matter?
  • What I do believe is that Jesus would have wanted us to do what is right.
  • To intervene according to our personalities and character, angry or not.
  • To shout and rail against injustice.
  • To fight for the oppressed.
  • And, not to accept wrongdoing but to put up a fight for fairness in all things.

 

 

Psalm 106:3

Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times