Monday, June 24, 2013

We're Guilty

          We hear the story of Ahab and Naboth; we listen to how Jezebel coerced leaders to lie about Naboth. We hear how the corrupt leaders and noblemen of Samaria were so quick to do the bidding of Jezebel. And we think that couldn’t or wouldn’t ever happen to me…or happen here!
          Ahab wasn’t guilty of the actual lies or the stoning of Naboth but he didn’t say anything when Jezebel told him, “Naboth is dead. You can have his garden now.” He didn’t ask how Naboth died. He didn’t ask anything about Naboth, because he knew that his wife had done something underhanded so he could have his garden. He just didn’t care!
          So he went to the garden and began to make it his own, planting and cultivating it as if he were the rightful, legal owner.
          God spoke to Elijah, we don’t know exactly how the communication happened, about where to find Ahab and what he, and Jezebel, had done. God gave Elijah some pretty harsh words to relay to Ahab. God said, “In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!” There was no doubt that Ahab wasn’t going to enjoy the fruits of this garden, and it sounds fair to us because it wasn’t really his.
          How does this story apply to us, today? We haven’t taken anyone’s land. We haven’t had someone killed so we could waltz in and take it over. We’re good guys.
          But wait, what about all that happened to the Native Americans? What about what happened to the Japanese Americans during World War II? What about the land foreclosures during the Great Depression? Sure the banks loaned the money but was it ethical to take the farm, sell it, and keep enough from the proceeds to pay what was owed? What about what’s happening in our Senate and House in Washington right now? Who’s paying the price for the mismanagement of finances in our federal government? You know who it is. It’s those who have no voice, no leverage, no super pacs to lobby for them. They’re the ones who are paying. The Food Stamp program is one those programs that may be cut or reduced. Who will feed these folks if they no longer can get food stamps?
          Injustices are still happening today, people taking advantage of someone else in order to accumulate more wealth; not caring what happens to the other guy as long as they get what they want, more land, more money, more prestige.
          It’s not just individuals, corporations and countries are doing it too. Leveraging the competitor until they cave in and their business…and customers…become part of the conglomerate.
          Wars, most times are about one country trying to get more land, more people, more natural resources. In the process, children and families pay the price…and most of us turn and look the other way. It’s not in our back yard. It’s on the other side of the world, it’s easy to ignore…and forget about.
          Friends, we’re all guilty. We’re guilty when we don’t speak out over injustices we see happening all around us. We’re guilty when we pass along rumors when we haven’t even asked if there’s any truth to them. You know what I’m talking about.
          We’re guilty when we don’t try to do something to right the wrongs done to those who have very little to start with. We’re just guilty.
          So, what are we to do? How do we stop the process?  I think first we have to admit that some of the blame does indeed belong on our shoulders. And then we need to ask God to forgive us, and show us, allow us, to begin to right some of the wrongs. 

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