Describe Christian teachings about the way in which believers should treat people who are less fortunate than themselves?
Christ had many views about how his people should treat each other and especially those less fortunate than themselves. One of the best quotes that show this view is in (Exodus 22:21-25) “Do not ill-treat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt. Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a money lender; charge him no interest.”
There is reference in this quote to a person being like a moneylender and how if you lend money to someone less fortunate, that you should not charge him/her interest.
This teaching could very well be used in the world today, as many poorer developing countries owe millions of pounds in debts. They borrow the money to help to deal with issues like starvation and floods or other economic problems. The money which obviously cannot be paid back within the time allowed will then accumulate interest, pushing the developing country further into debt and widening the gap between first and third world countries.
God also teaches that we should keep to the commandments and should respond to God by caring for each other, especially those in need.
(1:John 4:21) “And he has given us this command: whoever loves God must also love his brother”.
In this quote we are told ‘Whoever loves God must also love his brother’. Where it is written ‘brother’ it is meant to refer to everyone (all of God’s people) so according to this quote Christians have love for everyone – black or white, rich or poor.
In (Luke 6:20-21) “Looking at his disciples he said ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now for you will laugh”.
This shows that to be poor in God’s eyes was almost a gift; because of all their suffering on earth they would receive a special place in heaven. And as Jesus says, the poor are blessed, the Christian belief seems almost as if the poor should be treated with special care by believers as they have been shown to be special in Gods eyes.
Organisations like Christian Aid and Tear fund aim to lessen the suffering of people in need. The areas of need it focuses on are healthcare, water, agriculture, disaster relief, AIDS care and education. The organisation believes that all people are ‘special’ to God.
Jesus said,” I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me in your home, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me…Anything you did for one of my brothers here, however humble, you did it for me”. This provides the ‘example of Jesus’ and how he mixed with and showed respect for the poor and despised; but also outlines the Christian view that to help people less fortunate than themselves does not necessarily mean providing them with large amounts of money’ or giving them their food supply for the rest of the year. It can simply be a ‘humble’ act like talking kindly to them when they are down or even helping an old lady across the road, for your fortune is not necessarily the amount of possessions or money you own.
Christian faith provides a ‘vision’ of what life could be like if people became less self-centred. They work towards this vision by helping the world’s poor.
So I believe that the overall view on how Christians should treat those less fortunate than themselves is with special care and attention. And to help them in anyway possible, however humble the act maybe.