I came across this meme today on the internet and I felt obligated to speak up regarding its disdain for the poor and hungry. I do not judge the Christians who have spread this meme, or liked it, but rather I would like to analyze what I believe the true irony of this meme is; it breaks two commandments in the bible.
Most Christians will proclaim this meme is supported by 2 Thesselonians 3: 1-3 which is famously quoted (out of context) “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” However, this quote was stated by Paul to fellow Christians who at first relied on the kindness of strangers for food and lodging as they traveled spreading the word. That time had passed and they no longer needed charity to continue their work of spreading the word and Paul reminded them to not exploit the good intentions of their neighbors. This point is well remembered by the meme but there is a dangerous pit fall in ending the conversation there and assuming all recipients of subsidies are lazy.
Right now 14.7 million children in America live below the poverty line, 4.2 million senior citizens are below the poverty line, 57.5 million people have debilitating illnesses that prevent them from working. If only 45 million people receive food assistance it is probably leaving out some hungry people. What did Jesus have to say about the other people; the unfortunate majority who are not lazy? In Deuteronomy he said, “ I command you to be open handed to… the poor and needy in your land.” In Luke he commanded that when you throw a feast you must invite “…the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” Jesus lived this example countless times and he warned Christians in Matthew “As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” If I'm a believer, I would hate to turn away Jesus and ask for his forgiveness in my final moments.
The second commandment broken is that of judging the poor (or any other). This meme lumps the poor and the lazy together into one group and seems to be outwardly claiming that we should stop feeding the poor in the same way that we do not feed wild animals. Jesus commanded in the book of John, “Judge not by appearances but judge with right judgment.” Who among us knows better than God who is deserving of food? While on earth, who did Christ refuse to feed? This meme is definitely ironic but not in the ways it purports itself to be.