(Last week I introduced “Economics According to Judas.” Judas was one of the twelve Apostles. He was their treasurer, and of course we know him as the one who betrayed Jesus to the authorities. Even though Judas is one person, by the things that drove his life, he represents how many others think about wealth. By the time his attitudes and decisions become entrenched into a system of thought about economics, I believe we end up with a system that “frames injustice by statute,” Psalm 94:20. Furthermore, we must recognize that our view of money has roots in our spiritual lives. Here is the second part of the article.)
Economics According to Judas, Part II
Second, Mask Your True Intentions
The second of Judas’ economic principles is: mask your true intentions with self-righteous indignation. Judas didn’t really care about the poor; he was a thief attempting to seem like something other than what he was. Such intentions demand a philosophic platform to mask covetousness behind a veil of legitimacy– not different from today’s “virtue signaling.” Covetousness must hide its true face if its goals are to be achieved. Righteous indignation provides the perfect hiding place. Money policy thus demands an examination of the policy maker’s motives.
The Mask of Entitlement and Fairness
Implied in all this coveting, stealing, and self-righteousness is to expect someone else to provide for us. It takes only a small rationalization to jump from coveting to legitimizing the belief that we deserve what someone else has, particularly if we don’t feel that the object is within the reach of our own efforts. Covetousness eats away at our souls, and it doesn’t even matter that a similar thing could be ours with a little hard work. The thinking of a thief progresses in twisted logic from coveting to stealing to a feeling of entitlement.
In the last century, Bonnie and Clyde roamed the country stealing and looting. Some people idolized them almost as if they were modern-day Robin Hoods stealing from the rich. The fact is they murdered numerous people in cold blood, a fact that can easily be ignored when motives are falsely given a noble cause. I don’t know the motives of Bonnie and Clyde, but many people seemed to ignore the murders they committed.
Stealing is first a simple matter of greed, a lust for what someone else possesses. Angry indignation rationalizes this and turns it into an evil policy as a matter of justice. The real plight of the poor now comes into sharper focus. Though God has chosen them to be rich in faith (James 2:5), by the implications of Judas’ economic plan their true wealth diminishes through covetousness and anger.
Covetousness as Virtue
This covetousness also fuels the notion that something that belongs to someone else should be distributed against the owner’s will. This perspective follows from the false indignation over a perceived injustice and false expectation. People who covet soon believe they are entitled, and so taking things from others is now rationalized as a matter of justice. Cain was jealous of Abel simply because he received God’s acceptance. Cain could have obtained what Abel received, but jealousy and anger prevented him and drove him to take out his anger on his innocent brother. How taking Abel’s life could satisfy his false sense of injustice transcends logic, but that is the nature of the person in the grip of covetousness. It wants what it wants even to the point of harming someone else.
What You Want, Take from Others
Covetousness just may be the driving force for some of the redistribution of wealth philosophy. Community organizers often play on the covetousness of the poor by making them resentful of the rich and convincing them that they should have what the wealthy possess. In his book, Rules for Radicals, Chicago organizer Saul Alinsky made it one of the pillars of his plan.
We must examine such plans and planners more carefully for their motives and policies. Any plan to take from others runs the risk of being based on the same covetousness that drove Judas. The Christian plan is give, not confiscate from others what does not belong to us. Covetousness, hypocrisy, and stealing under any other names have no place in God’s economic plan.
© 2023 Robert T. Weber, The Lazarus Chronicles and Words Done Right LLC