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The Eradication of Systemic Poverty (Part 1)

Greetings everyone!  I recently wrote an essay on the Eradication of System Poverty and I wanted to share it with you. Today, I am posting the first part and the second part will follow in a subsequent post.  I hope you enjoy it and are challenged to think differently about this important subject.


Annette


Poverty is a systemic spiritual condition that can only be eradicated through solutions that are based on a biblical worldview. This paper will explore the fact that poverty is primarily a spiritual condition that is ingrained in the minds of men and is generational in nature, leaving its victims without hope of escaping its clutches. Only the Christian who is taught to accurately see the world through a biblical paradigm will be able to begin to offer solutions that will effectively address the root causes of this curse and begin to bring about its end through individual and cultural transformation.

Poverty is one of the most significant problems that we face in the world today.  It can be seen all around us because it defines the cultures or nations in the earth. Its  effect can be seen in in every sphere of society. Fifty percent of the world’s population live on less than two dollars and fifty cents per day.  Income differentials are widening between the rich and the poor in approximately eighty percent of the nations..  Over one billion people in the world have inadequate access to water.  The poverty to wealth ratio has widened from thirty-five to one in 1950 to eighty-nine to one in 2015. These are just a few statistics that illustrate the devastating effects of poverty. 

We live in a society where our values have eroded consistently.  Man is trying to fix himself through a set of systems, ideas, concepts, programs, laws and rules that are not based on biblical values. Therefore, we are spinning in a abyss without being able to produce real changes and transformation. The majority of the problems that our society is facing today are a byproduct of the way that we think and the ideas that we embrace in life.  In the forward of Darrow L. Millers book Discipling Nations, George Grant states that “it is ideas that have the most powerful consequences. When we have the right ideas driving our actions, everything else will come in its time. But when we are plagued by bad ideas, our best-laid plans will inevitably come to naught.”  This can be seen right now all over the world and especially in the Unites States. With the ideas that have been put into action daily without proper leadership, we can see the chaos and the writing on the wall. How did we get here? It happened through ideas that man has implemented without a biblical worldview. As the statistics show, poverty is not being eliminated by all of these programs; it is actually increasing.

Poverty enslaves the mind, will and emotions of man and as a result even the physical bodies shows its effects. It robs individuals, cultures and nations from their inherent purposes and the very reason why they even exist on the planet. The scriptures teach us that “as he thinks within himself, so he is.”

My personal experience with poverty paints a vivid picture.  I remember growing up in Panama in a ghetto. My mother, sister, brother and I lived in a one room apartment in a building made out of wood.  My mother had someone build a loft with a stair for us to be able to put one bunk bed and a queen size bed for us to go to sleep. We didn't have a refrigerator, telephone, stove etc. When we had money to buy food, we cooked our meals on a small two-burner gas stove. To shower and to do our biological necessities, we had to go outside and use a bathroom and toilet that was shared by the ten families that lived in the building.  My mother was a single parent. While she was at work, my older sister was in charge. The people that we grew up with had a sense of community so we took care of one another even with the little that we had. It was very challenging growing up in that environment because of the conformity mindset of those around us. The majority of the people around us were satisfied and happy with the way they lived. 

From what I saw and experienced growing up, I can say that poverty is definitely a spiritual condition that is rooted in a lack of a biblical worldview. Everything around us was viewed through that mindset of poverty and through the eyes of hopelessness. There was a lack of vision, self-esteem and direction. Mediocrity and a victim mentality were standard paradigms.

  Cycles and patterns of poverty can continue to perpetuate in the lives of individuals in the cultures and nations of the earth for many generations without the transforming power of a proper biblical worldview. These cyclical patterns are manifested in the form of teenage pregnancy, physical and verbal abuse, prostitution, human trafficking, single parent homes, drug trafficking, drug abuse, alcoholism, rape, incest, criminal behavior, malnutrition, short life span, child abuse and sexual abuse. Darrow L. Miller in his book Discipling Nations makes the point that “physical poverty is rooted in a mindset of poverty, a set of ideas held corporately that produce certain behaviors. Those with a poverty of mind see the world through glasses of poverty. They say, or their actions say for them, ‘I am poor. I will always be poor, and there is nothing I can do about it’ (fatalism). Or, as many say today, ‘I am poor because others made me poor. They are going to have to solve my problem. I cannot.’ ”