While it is not true that God hates rich people, you would still find a reasonably large number of people who affirm that He does. Well, maybe "hate" isn't the right word. How about "despises"? You know, something like "is really unhappy with" or the like. Because, as everyone knows, "Blessed are the poor", right? I mean, doesn't James say, "Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable Name by which you were called?" (James 2:6-7) He goes on to say,
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you." (James 5:1-6)
Not good. Not good at all.
So does God hate rich people? Oh, I know, not "hate". You know, like in the biblical sense. Like when we're told "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:26) That kind of hate. Does God view rich people with disdain or something like it? Isn't it true that money is the root of all evil? How can it not be so?
So it seems, often from the "Left", that while genuine Christians aren't supposed to hate -- say, homosexuals or fornicators or murderers and the like -- it is certainly right and even ... ahem ... biblical that they should really think poorly of rich people. I mean, isn't that what we see in the Bible?
Let's examine it a minute. First, the logical approach. If it is true that God thinks badly of rich people and so should we, then I suspect you who are reading this are in deep trouble. There isn't likely a single American who would not be classified as "rich" in many (most?) places on the planet. Regardless of that, if you have the computer to read this, you've too much money already. It would seem, then, if this position is true, that Christians ought to embrace a vow of poverty. If, when Jesus said, "Blessed are you who are poor" (Luke 6:20), He did not mean "Blessed are the poor in spirit" (Matthew 5.3" data-version="nasb95" data-purpose="bible-reference" target="_blank" style="text-decoration-line: none; color: rgb(70,149, 156); font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, FreeSans, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;">Matthew 5:3), but actually that poor people are blessed because they are poor, then it would be unkind to seek to make them other than poor and we would do well to become poor ourselves. You see, there are problems here from a logical perspective.
What about a biblical approach? Well, first, let's clear up a common error. It is not true that money is the root of all evil. The text says that it is the love of money that is the problem. And the actual translation is "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils" (1 Timothy 6:10). So let's not go there. The problem there is who you love ... money or God. Always a problem. And clearly God is opposed to ill-gotten gains (Proverbs 21:6; Proverbs 22:16; Proverbs 22:22-23). People who find their consolation and comfort in wealth are in trouble (Luke 6:24). And the call is for us to put our treasure not in banks and goods, but in Christ (Matthew 6:19-21). We are told, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33), but notice how the sentence ends: "and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)
Over against the "God doesn't like rich people very much" perspective, the Bible seems to argue that either extreme -- poverty or wealth -- are not good.
Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, "Who is the LORD?" or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. (Proverbs 30:7-9)
We have the example of Job who was wealthy (Job 1:3) by God's gift (Job 1:10), lost it all (Job 1:13-19), and God restored it (Job 42:12). If wealth in itself is evil, why is God giving Job wealth? Solomon warns against being lazy (Proverbs 6:6-11), where poverty is a result of laziness, and assures us that hard work produces wealth (Proverbs 10:4). He says, "The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life" (Proverbs 22:4). It seems that, while the Bible has dire warnings about wealth, it is not accurate that God hates wealthy people ... in any sense of the word "hate". Hate greed? Sure. Ill-gotten gains? Yes. Love of money? Of course. But not simply "wealthy people".
It is clear, biblically, that wealth has the potential for all kinds of problems. We might place our confidence in it. We might seek to get it by faulty means. We might love it. We might worship it. These are all problems. But don't let people tell you, "It's wrong for any good Christian to be wealthy." Especially when the person doing so is well dressed, well fed, and reasonably well off. That's not a good Christian whispering in your ear. It's a liar, a thief, and a murderer. At least that's who the person telling you that wealth is evil is listening to.
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