That being said, we should pay attention to them and not ignore what is said.
Today this verse stood out:
Because of my role in our Vision 30, I have the opportunity to be directly connected to many organizations who are spending time daily with the poor. I have noticed that for most folks in the church, the poor are far away from their thinking and their willingness to respond. I am perpetually wrestling with my own role in this big picture.
I think it is interesting that Solomon says “those who shut their ears” instead of “those who don’t hear”. Those are two very different things. What Solomon says is that this is a very intentional act. It’s not just a matter of not paying attention, or being unable to hear them, but it’s a purposeful choice.
Most middle/upper class Americans, even those in the church, are doing just that. Shutting their ears to the poor. You may say, “ NOT ME! I have never shut my ears to them.” But there are ways that we creatively do that:
1) We live in neighborhoods where there aren’t any poor people. Not being judgmental, because I’m doing the same things. The only people living in poverty (based on the guidelines of a poverty wage) in our neighborhood are the adult children living in our house who, because of us, aren’t really living in poverty.
2) We keep our car windows rolled up when we see a person with a sign at a stop light.
3) We know of volunteer opportunities that would put us in touch with the poor, and yet we are always “too busy.”
4) We go to churches too far away from neighborhoods where the poor live to actually worship with anyone who isn’t like us.
5) We hear appeals all day long to support folks in poverty all over the world, and yet our money is spent on things that are luxuries. I won’t list them, but you know it’s true. Do I NEED my water to be flavored? Do I NEED to go through a drive through and get a Starbucks iced tea? Do I NEED a fit bit? Do I NEED an iPhone. You get the picture. I’m preaching to myself right now. (and by the way, I could argue my need for an iPhone). :-)
I didn’t write all this to provoke guilt. But it appears that we have found a way here in the good old USA to shut our ears to the cries of the poor. More times and in more ways than we want to admit.
If Solomon is right, we may all be in trouble. Just sayin.