ACTS 3 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
A lame, dependent man was begging for money. This unfortunate man thought that money was the only answer for his particular plight. Peter and John looked at the vulnerable man. They saw his situation. They asked the troubled man to look at them — to see another way. Peter told him that they had no money to give him but that they had something even better to offer: a healing — a way for him to find his own peace, his own money. The man was willing and he gave his attention to Peter and John who, through the power of Christ, healed him. Peter and John provided a way for him to walk on his own two feet. He rose and started jumping and praising God. It was Beautiful.
The healing power of God is the obvious message. However, upon reflection there is a both a secular and political application.
Today, historic numbers of people are on food stamps. According to PolicyMic.com:
2013 has seen a surge in the use of food stamps which are now at historical records. Currently, a record 47.8 million Americans are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Enrollment in SNAP has increased 70% since 2008 and currently, an unbelievable 15 out of every 100 Americans are on food stamps.
Consequently, the U.S. spent a record $74.6 billion (slightly less than the combined budgets of the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department) on the SNAP program in 2012 alone. That expense has more than doubled since the start of the “Great Recession,” increasing $40 billion dollars since 2008 ($34.6 billion).
There are two political perspectives as to how to handle this problem. The Republicans, the Libertarians, and the constitutionalists want people to have the opportunity, the knowledge, and the tools to independently seek the gate called Beautiful. They believe this can only be done with a limited government that abides by the enumerated powers in the U.S. Constitution.
The Democrats and liberals want to hand out government money in order to convince vulnerable people that dependence on big government is the answer. The trap is set and the weak are caught. The gate called Beautiful is shut.
The media, the culture, and the president tell the vulnerable people, and all Americans, that it is not only socially acceptable but a social responsibility to rely on the government. Yet polls indicate that Americans are angry and unhappy with the government. They are unhappy because this trend in America not only goes against the independent nature of all Americans; it also goes against their moral compass.
Americans do best when they help one another find their way to the gate called Beautiful. Americans are happier when the government stays out of the way. However, the current popular, knee-jerk reaction is for the moral compass to point toward the government as the healer of all societies ills, and those who want big government perpetuate this myth.
In this respect, Americans have lost control of the very charitable, find-our-own-way mentality that is in their DNA, not to mention the republic they are supposed to rule. Every turn toward the government is a turn away from liberty. It is a snare, a trap, a prison gate.
The easy money that the Democrats promulgate, with no accountability personally or fiscally, has led to debilitating dependencies, a nation crippled in debt, and a people who are just plain unhappy. Vulnerable Americans are paralyzed at the gate that leads to a better life. Always seeing but never attaining.
Democrats believe that easy money equals easy votes — votes that progress their ideology. There is no accountability to the true welfare of the person or to the true welfare of the country. Dependent on the Democrats’ dime, they are stifled and simply a statistic. This is an abuse of power, keeping the vulnerables vulnerable.
It is no coincidence that, during a time when an historic number of people are on government food stamps, Americans are terribly unsatisfied. In a recent Washington Post-ABC poll, when asked if “things in this country (are generally going in the right direction) or do you feel things (have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track)?” 68% said “wrong track.” When asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. Congress is doing its job?” 85% disapproved. President Obama has hit an all-time low approval rating at 39% in a recent Quinnipiac University poll.
Thus, urgent is the call for the anti-progressives to rise up, get loud, and be law-abiding, respectful rebels. It is time for politicians, and citizens, to grab the megaphone and shout out the truth about the ills of government dependency. Knowledge is power and reason is vital. The anti-Democrats need to make their message clear, crisp, loud and pervasive because those who are perplexed, dependent, unhappy and angry are only hearing the propaganda machine of the liberal elites.
The vulnerables are taught by these elites that Republicans are cold and heartless regarding those who are suffering monetarily. They are constantly bombarded with deceptive imagery about the Democrats, depicting them as warm, big-hearted and compassionate. Yet the “D” in Democrat stands for Dependence.
The ones who really care about the vulnerables and their destinies are the ones with common-sense compassion – Republicans. Libertarians. Constitutionalists. Common-sense compassion calls attention to the ill-fated trap of government money, even if it isn’t sexy to the voters.
The only way to walk through that gate is to be independent, to seize the opportunities to learn, to adapt, to grow through a crisis. Only a government with common-sense compassion can offer this type of hope. Private charity and free enterprise were a remarkably successful aspect of the American way of life in the post-Revolution early 19th century, as noted by Alexis de Tocqueville. He was mesmerized by Americans’ lack of desire for government assistance and lack of tolerance for an overbearing government. Their compass pointed to themselves and each other, not the government.
Peter and John had no money to offer the ailing man. They only had healing, a healing that enriched him far beyond what money could do – through his ability to provide for himself. If Peter and John had given this lame man money, he would have spent all his remaining days lying by the temple gate called Beautiful, putting his sustenance and fate in the hands of others. They decided to give him common-sense compassion. Peter and John lifted him out of his mire by making him self-sufficient, independent, whole. With this new life, he had the dignity to choose his own path. He might succeed or he might fail but he was free – jubilantly jumping. He had gained his life, his liberty and his ability to pursue his own happiness, whatever that might be.
Everyone has a low in life at one point or another, and some may need a financial helping hand, but true compassion is instigating and inspiring one to reach their full potential and purpose in life independently. Constitutionalists see the miracle of human dignity in the Declaration of Independence and the preservation of such dignity in the checks and balances of the U.S. Constitution.
Peter and John provided a pathway for the lame man. They blessed him with a miracle – the ability to walk through that gate on his own two feet. This benevolence, this common-sense compassion was Beautiful and the answer for a fulfilled life.