Sunday, 21 February 2016

Usury is an Abominable Perversion of Compassion

Usury is clearly prohibited by God both under the Old Covenant and under the New Covenant which we are now under. How do I know? First, the Old Testament makes it clear that usury is an abomination (Ezekiel 18:13). Ezekiel 18:12-13 lists usury as among several abominations:

Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination, Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.

Whenever the Bible refers to something as an abomination, it is referring to something that God absolutely detests to the core because of what that act is. It is also to be noted that in Ezekiel 18:12-13 is a list of sins that were against the Moral Law of God, rather than ceremonial laws or civil laws. Usury is that which concerns the heart itself, and not outward actions, as it literally is itself the manifestation of a heart which is idolatrous, full of the love of mammon, and full of the desire to gain one's own way. As such, usury cannot by any means to treated analogous to making animal sacrifices or any ceremonial or civil law as some theologians erroneously attempt to do. Those who say that usury is not a sin are jokers, absolute jokers. They are not to be trusted. End of story. 

So, how do I know the prohibition against usury is part of the Moral Law of God? It is written on the moral conscience. One knows that usury is wrong just as one knows murder, lying and stealing is wrong. Furthermore, it is described as an abomination when listed among sins which were determined to be sin under the Moral Law of God such as in Deuteronomy 23:19-20; Leviticus 25:37; Ezekiel 18:13. 

In Ezekiel 22, usury is not only called an abomination again, but listed as one of the sins attributable to the "bloody city":  Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt shew her all her abominations (Ezekiel 22:2). Usury is listed alongside with idolatry (Ezekiel 22:3-4), oppressing the stranger, orphan and widow (Ezekiel 22:7), sexual immorality, including incest (Ezekiel 22:9,11), murder and extortion (Ezekiel 22:12). That usury is listed among such sins indicates that these sins fall in the same category. This means that if one wants to argue that usury is not a sin, as many in the modern Church do, including the conservative, orthodox evangelical Christians, this would mean that one would need to argue that the other sins in Ezekiel 22 are not sins. One would then need to accept that murder, incest, idolatry and oppressing the stranger, widow and orphans are not sins, if one is to accept that usury is not a sin.

Such inconsistency in one's belief as to what amounts to a sin in the eyes of God has attracted the criticism of the Church by the world. Indeed, in this case regarding usury, this criticism of the Church is correct.

If one is still unconvinced that usury is a sin, one should ask oneself, how can a person love God and others, which is the fulfillment of the all of the Moral Law and Prophets (Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 13:10), if one charges usury against others, whether a brother in Christ, or not? How can a usurer have the love of God in him? Usury is the ultimate manifestation of hatred, as to seeks not only its own gain and to extort people in doing so, but it thinks itself justified in doing so, by using debt owed to oneself as an excuse for theft. It perverts the very idea of giving. Usury, as such, is hatred of others, those of owe one something, and uses this as an excuse to steal from them. Since hatred is murder in the eyes of God (Matthew 5:21; 1 John 3:15), usury which is not only a manifestation of hatred, but hatred itself, is murder. Usury is not just the manifestation of a murderous heart. It is murder itself.

Jesus commanded His disciples: "And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:7-8). To those of you who profess to follow Christ, but think that usury is not a sin, are you going to argue that when Jesus said to give freely, that it only applied to the disciples, but yet at the same time argue out of your double-mindedness that whenever Jesus said give freely, He is only referring to those richer than you or those who "can" give freely, so that you can justify your own hatred of giving freely?

Whenever Jesus said give freely, He means it as He said. He commands all His followers to give freely, regardless of how much they have materially. It by no means only apply to those who have more, for when He said that one must give freely, He is referring to a heart, that loves to give, thus will give joyfully and cheerfully: Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). To be poor, or have less material things is not an excuse to not give. 

For example, when the widow with the two mites gave all she had (Luke 21:1-4), Jesus was not praising her, but rather, affirming that what she did was right in His sight. She was doing what she should do, fulfilling the basic standard of giving. It is to be noted that He was not implying that because she was poor, that she therefore had less of an obligation to give compared to those who have more. This is because God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11). He does not favour either rich or poor. All have the same obligation to give freely and willingly. 

Usury is against the spirit of giving freely (Matthew 10:8) and cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). 1 John 3:17 says: "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" If one does not love, one hates (1 John 3:15; 4:7-9, 20). A person either loves God and people, or hates God and people. There is no middle ground whatsoever. This means that if a person does not love, as is the one who sees another in need, and fails to show him compassion, he hates him. 

Usury is a lack of compassion for those in need. However, usury goes beyond a lack of compassion. It perverts the idea of compassion, by turning it into an excuse to justify self-gain by means of gaining for lending to others. That is why usury is truly an abomination, as it is perverse, twisting good into evil and evil into good.