As I was walking to the MBC earlier this week I couldn’t help but notice another of the all too common newspaper headlines bemoaning people claiming benefits.

Without doubt this is one of the key battlegrounds for all political parties as we run in towards a General Election. Whatever our political persuasion we have a responsibility to ensure our worldview is shaped by the Bible rather than by the media. For me all of this brought into close focus something I have just been reading in a book called, “The Myth of the Undeserving Poor”.

The author’s pose the question, ‘are we ever justified in thinking that some people in poverty are undeserving of help?’ Before we allow ourselves to be shaped by what the world around us is saying we need to remember that all of us received mercy from God when we were undeserving – thank God he never bases his grace and kindness on whether we deserve it or not! In today’s rarefied political atmosphere, poverty is a hot potato. “The Myth of the Undeserving Poor” is a ‘must read’ because no one in poverty is undeserving of mercy!

Let me leave you with a quote, “We may not approve of people’s behaviour; we may believe there is a better way to live. But Jesus has never treated us according to our behaviour – he treats us according to who we are, which is people made in the image of God, created to know him and reflect him to those around us. That is why, when Jesus saw the crowds, “he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). When you see the crowds – whether it’s face-to-face or in the media – how do you feel about them?”

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