• 39°

Paid political letter: I value biblical charity

What do you value? What are your values? Many people claim Christian values. Christian values are grounded in the Bible. Many people base their values on a few verses in the Bible. The Ten Commandments have been popular for a few verses.

Many people have chosen 1 Corinthians 13 as a Scripture reading at their church wedding. It is known as The Love Chapter, but it is not about love in marriage. It is about how we are to relate to the people in our community. From the King James version of the Bible, the last verse of the chapter is this, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” Newer translations usually use the word “love” instead of “charity.”

I value biblical charity.

I choose a consistent and rigorous reading of the whole Bible. As a retired pastor, I have time to read. I read about 80 verses a day. I have a schedule that takes me through the Old Testament in two years, the New Testament every year and the Psalms four times a year.

In my daily study of the Psalms I have charted a group of words that have to do with certain people the Lord cares about in a special way, people to whom we should show charity: the poor, the widows, the oppressed, the needy, the fatherless, the orphans, the prisoner, the weak, the desolate, the persecuted, the mocked, the alien, the downtrodden, the meek, the helpless. God’s special concern for such people shows up in one out of every three Psalms.

Sometimes the group of people described by those 14 terms are called “the least, last, lost and left behind.” When I taught the Psalms in Tanzania my translator referred to them as the four L’s. Because I value biblical charity, I care about the four L’s.

The Trump administration cut the 2020 census short. Who will not be counted? The least, last, lost and left behind — people I care about. People lifted up for special charity in the Bible.

Trump’s administration has closed the door of the United States to refugees. The national church I belong to has been a leader for decades, helping refugees from around the world to successfully establish a safe life in the United States. I remember refugees from Vietnam coming to Albert Lea in 1971. In a small way, I was a part of introducing them to English.

During Trump’s administration we have separated thousands of refugee children from their parents. At our worst, we have put the children in cages. These children are some of the least, last, lost and left behind who I care about because I value biblical charity.

If you value biblical charity, end the current administration. Vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Vote for Tina Smith. Vote for Dan Feehan. Vote for Thomas Martinez. Vote for Dan Sparks.

Joel Xavier

Ellendale