How does oppressing the poor show contempt for their Maker?

How does oppressing the poor show contempt for their Maker?

In Matthew 25:31–45 Jesus speaks of a coming judgment after the tribulation. In verses 41–46 the Lord links one’s treatment of others with a relationship to Himself:

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”

Jesus clearly notes that the way we treat those in need is how we treat Him.

James 2:1 adds, “Believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.” Using the example of how those in the church might respond to a rich man and a poor man (verses 2–4), James reminds his readers that our treatment of the poor is an application of loving our neighbors as ourselves (verse 8). If we do not show concern for the poor, we are not obeying God’s commands.

This, then, shows another way that oppressing the poor shows contempt for God—it is direct disobedience to His commands to love your neighbor as yourself and not to show favoritism. First John 3:17 uses a rhetorical question to make the same point: “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”


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