Read Amos 1
Focus on verse 13
Progress is desirable. Growth and expansion is typically a good thing. We tend to consider companies that grow their market share to be successful, and those who keep their stocks going up are praised by shareholders; many people expend a great deal of effort to keep all those things happening with consistency. None of this is problematic until the drive to win begins to tilt the moral compass.
It would seem to me that in America we passed that tipping point some time ago as people seem to be selling their souls in exchange for one or more of the big three: money, sex, and power.
In today’s reading the Lord issues a warning through the prophet Amos to the Ammonite nation citing them for their merciless pursuit of territory.
Thus says the Lord:
For three transgressions of the Ammonites, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they have ripped open pregnant women in Gilead, that they might enlarge their border. (v. 13)
It is easier than one might first think to get caught up in this rat race of success. It is particularly likely that one may get caught up in it once one starts to feel the effects of wealth and power. For some it is intoxicating, and they become addicted to finding that next high that comes only when the next deal is closed. It is at this time that our morals are tested. While we may not literally rip open pregnant women to annex the lot next to our business, we might be doing pretty much the same thing when we facilitate and encourage the killing of unborn children in the abortion mills around the country in order to keep that sector of the economy viable. Is it any different than turning a deaf ear to the cries of children and adults caught up in human trafficking? Or ignoring the needs of the poor and destitute who live in our communities?
Even within our churches we have become experts at justifying our neglect. This is not to suggest that we can easily remedy all theses issues simply by becoming activists. Jesus did say we would always have the poor with us, but I rather doubt He intended for us to use that statement as rational for ignoring their needs.
Possibly the most rational first step in all this is simply to humbly repent and acknowledge our sin before God, and allow Him to inspire our actions. It may also require retraining ourselves to actually look for opportunities to simply love people who to us may seem unlovable. It really is just following the model Jesus gave us – He loved us while we were unlovable, is it too much to expect us to pass that on?