Proverbs 18:9 reads, “He also who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys.” I have referenced this verse before when I’m talking to my kids: “Saying ‘I didn’t mean to’ isn’t good enough,” I say. “You need to mean not to harm others. And you need to mean to do good.” I want my children to live intentionally, and to recognize that living and working carelessly and thoughtlessly is not actually much better than living with a malicious bent to destruction.
But, as is often the case, truth has many faces and many applications. I read in an article today that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the apparent mastermind of the Boston bombings, was on welfare, along with his extended family.
At first the obvious response is, “Why would someone who is receiving the benefit of living in a country like ours hate us so much? He’s willing to take our money and exploit our generosity while he plots to kill us? Doesn’t he see how backwards that is?” But then I thought about it some more. The lazy person is brother to the destroyer. Why? Because the lazy person hasn’t invested in anything. He doesn’t really feel like he has anything of his own to lose. That is, in fact, the welfare mentality.
The “slack-handed” entitlement mentality and the terrorist inclination really aren’t that different, and it isn’t that surprising to find them both in the same person.
In one case, the entitlement-minded person allows everything around him to fall apart. He does nothing to build up his country, his community, his family, or even himself. And so it all disintegrates, and he doesn’t care. He has no skin in the game. His house, that was given to him, doesn’t mean anything to him. It’s not really his, and he doesn’t care. He didn’t work for his paycheck, so he hardly cares how it is spent. He’ll vote for anyone that perpetuates his lifestyle, no matter how bad they are for the country. He doesn’t care.
In the other case, the terrorist (from malice or envy or whatever) actively and maliciously attempts to harm the country and community he hates, even if he loses his family and his own life in the process.
And the end result is basically the same. In fact, it could be argued that the entitlement-minded person has done more harm to our country than any terrorist ever has. Because they’re brothers in destruction. Just like Solomon said.
With all that in mind, we need to start requiring that people in our country actually invest in their own lives and communities. Hand-outs seem like a short-term solution for poverty, but in the end, they produce a mindset that is fundamentally destructive—both to the individual and the country as a whole. I guarantee people wouldn’t be howling about how the rich need to pay more if everyone felt a little of the burden of our tyrannical tax system. “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” Somebody has to pay for it, that’s true. But it’s also true that there is hardly a lunch tastier or more satisfying than one you pay for with the sweat of your own brow. And that is the ethic we need to get back into our country before slack hands and terrorists dismantle it completely.