A recent article about Hartlepool being a town left behind provoked a lot of emotion for Hartlepudlians that read it. I was one of them, I felt angry at the unfairness of cuts in comparison to other parts of the country.
After thinking about it for a few weeks, here are some of the things that the gospel (the good news about who Jesus is and what he's done) has to say to the situation:
Inequality - the North/South divide
Fear - the need for security
Politics - look after your own voters
The distribution of cuts is a political grenade. MP Iain Wright says “Areas that do not vote Tory are getting whacked”.
This isn’t the first time something like that has happened. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a time when it hasn’t happened. Politicians are looking to maintain their own positions and so want to look after their own voters. Why look after people who have historically never voted for you and are statistically unlikely to in the future?
We all hate this about politicians, and we are all blind to it in ourselves. I am not equally loving, generous or willing to serve to everyone I encounter. People’s behaviour towards me makes me more or less likely to help next time they need it. We love our friends, are indifferent to our acquaintances and hate our enemies to varying degrees. Is it any wonder that a world filled with people like me ends up with unfair practices that causes some to suffer and others to prosper? It’s only by God’s grace that it’s not even worse.
That’s not the way we were created. Before we existed, God existed in three persons, loving each other. The very nature of God is love . As the supreme demonstration of God’s nature, Jesus came, not to look after his own voters, but to love his enemies, to serve instead of seeking to be served, and to give his life so that we can be forgiven for our self-serving and be transformed to really love others.
the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for manyMatthew 20:28
picture by Craig Rodway