In one verse the Scripture says “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord” yet the other verse on the other hand indicates being cruel to the poor means we show contempt toward the Lord.
We live in a time where people can be pretty cruel even from a young age. Look no further then bullying in school. There was a recent news story about a young man who had a genetic condition and the kids he went to school with bullied and made fun of him. Terrible stuff like this happens all the time. Biblically you do not necessarily have to be lacking money to be considered poor or needy, any disadvantage can really put someone I suppose in this catagory.
Yet the Word of God makes it clear how we ought to treat people. In Micah 6:8 it says
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
We are called to
1.) Act justly” to do right and be fair. To uphold the cause of what is right through actions and behavior!
2.) “Love mercy”- one element of mercy is compassionate disposition toward those who need it. Mercy- for example we see in Scripture when someone approached Jesus with a need, they often said “Have mercy on me!” Which they were basically saying “Have pity on me, have compassion for me!”
Often we think of mercy of course as the Lord forgiving our sin and having compassion to send Jesus to save us from the penalty of sin, indeed that is one of God’s greatest gestures of mercy. Yet it does not stop there. God has compassion on us when we suffer too.
So to “Love mercy” is the opposite of what some do, looking for someone to harass, make fun of, or make sport of.
Loving mercy leaves no room for a thirst for cruelty.
Thirdly God wants us to “Walk humbly with your God”
God loves humility and hates pride. In fact in a dream Nebuchadnezzar had in the book of Daniel, we see God warned him he was getting proud and would be chastened if he did not walk humbly.
When Daniel advised the king how to be humble, he said, “Therefore, Your Majesty, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue. ” (Daniel 4:27)
It was not uncommon for a powerful king to promote those he chose and bring down those he chose, To spare those he decided, and put to death those he decided. Yet God was about to demote Nebuchadnezzar for pride.
How was his pride showing itself? It seems he was beinf cruel. He was told to “renounce your sins by doing right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed.”
This is a huge way humility shows itself, treating people right regardless of their status or how popular and well known they are. There is a quote, “You can truly know a true gentlemen by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”
Also how Nebuchadnezzar failed was he boasted about the power he had come to obtain later on, a year after the dream, Nebuchadnezzar slips up and says
Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.” Daniel 4:29-32
To walk humbly before God means we give him the rightful praise and credit for the good we enjoy! We must remember He is the true holder of all power, position, and good we enjoy. We should never let our egos get big and forget this!