Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A PARABLE: MEET THE JOHN Q. CITIZENS

Once upon a time there was a kind American family with a large and beautiful home.  They weren't wealthy by American standards, but were upper middle class, and would probably be wealthy by worldwide standards.  They had three healthy children who were well behaved and pleasant.  This family, whom we shall call the John Q. Citizens, worked hard, paid all their bills and taxes on time, and donated time and money to help the needy.  They were active in their church, cheerfully giving their tithe and working in the children's  department every week.





The Citizen family often invited needy people to their home, sometimes to stay for a few days, sometimes just to provide a meal, some money, or a bath.  They did this lovingly, and those they helped often were able to turn their lives around because they were given another chance by the Citizens. 

One day, their city government announced to the Citizens and the rest of the community that they could no longer lock their doors at night, or even in daytime.  Although that was their right as property owners, the government had decided to not enforce any trespassing or breaking and entering laws--nobody could prevent others from coming onto their property whenever the "trespassers" felt like doing so.  And the Citizens were not allowed to even find out if those coming onto their property had been invited.  They just had to let them in.

Although upset by this illogical announcement by officials, the Citizens tried to continue helping those in need by inviting as many as they could, but soon they found that large numbers of uninvited people started showing up and helping themselves:  sleeping wherever they wanted, eating whatever they could find in the fridge and the pantry, leaving behind trash and chaos, and acting like the property was theirs.  They did not treat the Citizen family or household with respect at all, but started demanding that the Citizens give them more, because the Citizens were working and were "rich."  These uninvited guests thought anything they found on the property, such as clothing, decor, shoes, medicines, or jewelry--was theirs for the taking--and since the local officials would do nothing about all this, the Citizens were helpless before the onslaught.

Mr. John Q. Citizen had soon had enough, because his own family was now having to do without because he didn't have enough resources to provide for them or for those he had invited into his home!  The uninvited had taken so much from his family that he sadly had to stop helping the needy in his community. 

Eventually, the Citizen family saw their beautiful home, once an open and loving refuge for the needy, in chaos and nearly in ruins.  The family began to fear for their own safety as well as that of those who lived around them.  The interlopers kept demanding more and more of the Citizens, but the point came when they no longer had anything left to give.  They were bankrupt and disheartened, wondering what had happened to their community after the official announcement that people could not protect what they owned.

~   ~   ~



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