Answering For Our Actions


A man lies in his clean, sanitary hospital bed, quietly dying. His last days are made as comfortable as possible through the use of painkillers and other drugs affordable only by the very wealthy. Alone as always, he silently expires.

His next conscious impression is one of approaching a warm, bright light. "I've made it! This must be heaven. I knew that it wasn't that hard to get here!"

A strong, deep voice spoke, as if from afar, saying, "No, you have not entered heaven yet. Instead, it is here that you have your last opportunity to explain your life and your actions, both the good and the vile."

"But", the man argued, "I've done nothing evil. What have I to explain?"

"Doing no evil is not the same as being a good and decent person." The voice stated. "In every major religion that has existed on your world, you were given the same basic instructions. All that was expected of you was to attend to those fundamental charges."

"I worked hard all my life," the man claimed.

"Truly you did, but what actions did you take to care for the poorest of God's children?", asked the voice.

"Oh, no! Not more liberal, bleeding heart nonsense about the poor! Listen, the poor were lazy and uneducated and they liked being poor. If they didn't actually "like" it, then they were too dependent on handouts to get off their butts and get jobs. I figured that anything that was done to give them any assistance just made them lazier and let them think that they deserved the help!"

"But you didn't feel as if what you gave to your own children was a handout, did you? You gave them everything they asked for, including shoes that cost hundreds of dollars and video games and computers, didn't you?", asked the voice.

"Well, of course! They were my kids. They deserved the very best!", the man said firmly.

"Oh, yes.", mused the voice, "What is troubling for me, though, is what you define as 'the very best' Was it the best simply because it cost a great deal? Isn't every small, trusting and gentle child on Earth worth only 'the very best'? Could you not have shoes for your children that were sturdy and well made and then used the savings to buy shoes for a child living in a box in an alley, as well?"

"Look," said the man, "I bought my kids what I decided was the very best because I could afford it. I was very adept at creating wealth for myself and that is how I chose to spend it! Now get off my case about it."

"I must agree that you were very good at making money." The voice softly offered, "But what I do not understand was how you could justify buying such useless and wasteful things for your children yet, at the same time, so firmly refused to share some small portion of that wealth with the millions of your brothers and sisters who were in such dire need of some small token of relief."

"I had no brothers or sisters, at least none that I still spoke to." The man stated. "My brother refused to follow me into our father's investment business and, instead, went off and became a kindergarten teacher. Can you imagine that? Baby sitting little rug rats for nearly starvation wages in some crime infested public daycare center disguised as a school? And my sister!?! She received her medical degree from Harvard, of all places and then, instead of using that education to make a future for herself she traipses off to some ungodly, filthy little village in Africa to take care of those people. I haven't spoken to either in years!"

"But, sir, do you not believe that all men are brothers and sisters within their souls? If, as your Christian religion proclaimed, that there is but one God and all of the people on Earth are His children, does that not make you all of His family and His children and, thus, all brothers and sisters? As you happily spent your worldly fortune on your children, does it not follow that your God desires that you show the same respect towards the rest of His children?", asked the voice.

The man wanted this whole questioning to end but, still, would not allow this voice to make him feel ashamed for his life. "Listen," he said, "Why should I care about those people? I worked all my life, I made a lot of money and I spent it as I saw fit. I contributed a lot of money to make certain that I would never have to waste my money or time on those shiftless baby making machines. I supported every conservative candidate that promised to cease spending my taxes trying to lift those bums out of poverty or to better educate them or provide them with medical relief because I earned my money and so could they! End of story!"

"Sadly, sir", the voice intoned, "that isn't the end of the story. You and all of your brothers and sisters were told, in many languages and from many hearts and many holy books, that to many much is given, but from those much is expected. You believed that you were wealthy because God loved you but you were slightly mistaken. God made you wealthy as a test, a test that you failed. You were taught that worldly wealth is the only reward that the greedy shall know because, as it was so eloquently stated, the rich cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven anymore than a camel can pass through the eye of a needle. You were instructed to care for the poor and the children and the elderly and to never allow yourself to judge them and their destinies nor circumstances. You were told that the manner in which you treat the least among you will be seen as how you treat that man whom you would believe to be the son of God. To spite the poor and sick and the needy is to show hatred towards their creator. To refuse to share your Earthly fortune with those less able to provide for themselves is to refuse to share your God given wealth with the children of your creator. The man whom you would believe to be the son of God was and will always be what your political labels would tag as the first and greatest "bleeding heart liberal" of your world. You were warned, over and over, that to do nothing is as evil as to cause the original harm. You were warned that greed was despised by God and that only charity and kindness were to be seen as blessed acts in His eyes. That man you would believe to be the son of God was crucified because He so lovingly comforted the poor and the sick and the children and chastised the wealthy and the powerful for their avarice and covetousness."

"Yet, after all of those lessons and warnings, you still chose to judge others as not worthy of your love or assistance, preferring, instead, to gather far more material blessings than you needed with never a thought for the pain and suffering that your shameful behavior caused to all the billions of God's children. As an even greater affront to your God, your legacy to your own children will not be the lessons of love and of a gleeful charity that your God offered to all but, tragically, you leave them only with the belief that greed is acceptable in His eyes and that man may exclude and allow harm to come to others based only on your nebulous, selfish and sinful criteria. With your ungodly malevolence toward the men and women who live in poverty you condemn millions upon millions of children to suffer hunger and cold and fear based on your all too fallible judgement of their parents. Because you saw only wealth and earthly power to be useful as a barometer of your place among men, you have no place among those who have attained heaven's grace and comfort. Because you happily substituted wealth for human decency and amassed mere possessions instead of blessings, you can now never share the blessings that God so eagerly wanted to bestow upon those who loved all of His children. Finally, because you so enthusiastically mistreated the children of God, you will never know the rewards awaiting those who treat all children as His. Goodbye, you wretched soul. You face an eternity away from the sight of God."

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Copyright 1/7/2000