How do we treat the poor?
Hear this, you that trample on the needy,
and bring to ruin the poor of the land,
saying, “When will the new moon be over
so that we may sell grain;
and the sabbath,
so that we may offer wheat for sale?
We will make the ephah small and the shekel great,
and practice deceit with false balances,
buying the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
and selling the sweepings of the wheat.”
The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Surely I will never forget any of their deeds. ~ Amos 8:4-7
I learned this week of a new way in which we bring ruin to the poor of the land. We ship used solar panels to Sub Saharan Africa where they have no safe, usable ways to dispose of the lithium batteries used to power panels. So electronic waste is ending up in places it shouldn't be - including in drinking water.
What started as a hopeful way to help Africans have sources of renewable energy has created just another headache for them.
It's laudable to want to help poorer nations find ways to combat climate change. It is the poorer nations of the world that will suffer the most from the warming of the planet.
And yet we still end up ruining their land.
It is easy to miss the struggling of the people of poor nations because most of us have no way to interact with them. It's easy to place their needs on the backburner when we aren't confronted by them day to day.
Even in our own communities, we don't often see the needs of the poor, the homeless, and the hungry from the comforts of our homes.
But we are called to see. Called to interact. Called to advocate. Called to love. Called not to exploit.
Called to be in relationship with.
So that we can bring life and not ruin.
Open my eyes Lord. Forgive me when I ignore your children who are most in need. Amen