Views from the Pews: Bridging the inequality gap

Dr Alex Appiah, Living Springs Church, Market Weighton
Dr Alex Appiah, Living Springs Church, Market Weighton

Day by day we continue to hear and see news reports about the increasing desperation of refugees and the number of people trying to enter the prosperous northern European countries including Britain. The politicians and analysts across Europe seem clueless on how to deal with this crisis.

In my last article, I argued for a more neighbourly approach in dealing with the challenges many of our fellow human beings are facing, particularly those from war torn and radical Islamic fundamentalist influenced countries of the world.

Today, I will explain the importance and need for more neighbourly approach to solving the mounting challenges of refugees and economic migration.

A neighbourly approach is important because of the obvious issue of global inequalities, which sadly most people don’t think of or even pause to consider before passing their rushed judgement on this very difficult life and death issue facing those who are fleeing war, persecution or grinding poverty.

Here are some sobering statistics from the World Bank worth considering: In 2010, the high income countries (in Europe and North America) accounting for only 16% of the world’s population – were estimated to have to generate 55% of global income whilst low-income countries (largely the southern hemisphere) created just above 1% of global income even though they accounted for 72% of the global population (http://bit.ly/1ImySh5).

The bare fact we must face is that the present world is very unequal. A small percentage of the global population controls and enjoys a disproportionate amount of the world’s wealth. There is an urgent and moral obligation on rich nations to be more neighbourly and help improve the conditions of the poor in the world.

The Bible has this to say: “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 18 tells them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good work and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.” (1 Timothy 6:17-18 NLT).

Jesus urged us all “to love our neighbour as ourselves” (Mark 12:31). This means promoting the development of all people, nations and doing whatever we can to reduce the gaps of inequality in societies. Until we begin to see ourselves as neighbours, treat and care for each others’ needs, inequality will continue to grow, fuel mass migrations and consequently threaten the peace and stability of those who are rich but refuse to see the plight of their fellow human beings.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Contact me (01430 879927; Email: pastor@livingsprings.org.uk) or visit us on Sundays, 10.30am at The Life Centre in Market Weighton.