Just under a year ago I read this passage and thought about how much it clashed with what so many members of our political and media classes cry out for whilst claiming Britain is a “Christian country™”.
As a result, I wrote this post, the words of which were as follows,
“Then, the King said,
“I was hungry and you told me that it was my own fault for being lazy and believing that I was entitled to help from hard working families and that I’d probably spent all of my money on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs anyway.
I was thirsty and you assumed that I was desperate for gin or vodka, rather than water.
I was naked and you said that I would have more chance of a job if I took more care of my personal appearance, even though I wore all I could afford.
I was poor and you told me I was a scrounger who just wanted to sponge off the state and put stories about me on the tv and newspapers, despite knowing nothing about my circumstances.
I was sick and you denied me any help, told me to go back to work and assumed I was faking illness in order to scrounge.
I was in prison and you demanded that the key was thrown away and that I was kept away from all respectable, law-abiding members of society because I was a bad person who could never change.
I was a stranger and you ran, scared of me, told me to go home, that your country was full and that I was only there to steal your money, possessions and jobs.
For I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it to me””
This struck a chord with a lot of people. My average number of views per post is about 100-150. This post received over 8000 from all over the world. I received a lot of messages telling me that this was exactly how they felt things were going in the whole western world right now, that our God given mandate to help and care for the weakest and most vulnerable in our society is being ignored for self interest and fear.
We have more and more right wing, populist politicians; from the US Tea Party to UKIP in Britain; who are shouting loudly about how migrants are the source of our problems, or poor people relying on handouts, or those who are working hard to help these people make the most of their lives. The sad thing is that these political groups also position themselves as the guardians of Christianity in an increasingly secular world.
Thankfully, we also see groups such as the Trussell Trust, Street Pastors, Crossreach and others who truly do portray the image of Jesus in a modern, broken selfish world. They go out and help, feed, clothe, support those they find in need, whilst, in some cases, railing against the fact that this need is even there in some of the richest societies on the planet.
The time has come to stop blaming, punishing, demonising and marginalising. The time has come to start helping, feeding, encouraging, educating, mentoring, listening, befriending and running our societies in a new way.
A new way which was put forward 2000 years ago, but we have sadly failed to replicate since the plan was made for us.
A way where our responsibility is to look after others, safe in the knowledge that others will look after us.
To welcome strangers, not to run from them.
To feed the hungry, not to tell them it’s their fault because they cant cook.
To lend a hand to the dispossessed.
To care for and listen to the suffering.
To house the homeless.