20 The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.
21 He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.
Verse 20 – The fact that the poor are hated even by their own neighbors explains why there is often so much violence in poor neighborhoods. The Bible calls poverty a curse. It breeds many problems, such as filth and sickness. In many areas, the poor do not have access to buy healthy foods, their poor nutrition results in poor health. It is demoralizing to live in a poverty-stricken region. Poverty crushes any hope for improvement. Depressed people stop trying to better themselves. This breeds irresponsibility, which becomes a hotbed for rebellion. Or in some cases, the poverty is so extreme that total exhaustion and starvation strips the people of any desire or hope for life. The only way to break the cycle of poverty is to bring the gospel to the poor, and support those ministries that will bring the needed provisions to those who lack them. We can be redeemed from poverty and anything else that misrepresents God to the world. God blesses His people when they follow and obey Him (Deuteronomy 28:1-6).
We are incapable of keeping God’s commandments by ourselves; we can only keep them by the enabling of the Holy Spirit. If we rebel and go our own way, the law of sowing and reaping will bring a curse upon us. Poverty is a part of that curse. Money is not the answer to poverty, since it only takes care of the surface problems. As the American government has discovered; throwing money at the problem through welfare programs only compounds it. Money never solves the root problems of hatred, violence, irresponsibility, or fear. Only a change of heart that comes from knowing Christ can accomplish that. When hearts are not changed, the curse continues (Deuteronomy 28:15-20).
Verse 21 – The rich man has many friends; but love for his money and what it can obtain for them, is at the heart of many of these friendships. The rich man’s money can also make him proud, causing him to sin against God, his fellow man, and himself. Christ owns the earth and the entire universe. He gave up His position of supreme power and wealth and became poor to save us, that we might become rich in His blessings (2 Corinthians 8:9). Those who are merciful to the poor are happy and blessed, for they follow in the steps of Jesus Himself.