Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Love of Money and Litigiousness

Deborah White, an interesting blogger (see here, here, and here) and a wonderful person, left these comments on my post about why Americans are so litigious:
It's about the love of money. Period.

Nothing in this life has surprised me more than the extreme lengths some people will go to obtain more money; how some people evaluate others on the basis of how much money and material goods they possess; and how some people literally use money as a scorecard of success.

Like all middle-aged Americans, I have seen people destroy families, friendships, marriages and their own health over money.

That's the main reason for the vast majority of lawsuits: the pursuit of money and/or goods.
I thought that this was insightful and responded:
Yes, I think that perhaps all these other things I mentioned in the oroginal post aid and abet the major culprit: the love of money. And that, of course, is a deeply spiritual problem. Money is the deity of choice of most people. To correctly quote a New Testament passage usually inaccurately cited: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains." [First Timothy 6:10]
Often the passage in Timothy is misquoted, as in the Pink Floyd song, Money. There and elsewhere, people claim that this passage of Scripture, written by the apostle Paul to a young preacher condemned money as "the root of all evil."

I suppose that the reason some people misquote the passage is that it creates a straw man readily knocked down, making it easier to ignore the claims of God on our lives.

Money, as Richard Foster points out in his fantastic book, Money, Sex, and Power, is morally neutral. It's neither bad or good. But the love of money turns it into an idol we serve, something we use, as Deb points out, to measure our value and our success as people. Like all addictive forces, money, once it has become our drug of choice (i.e., our idol) can turn us into monsters.

We see a lot of monstrous behavior in our world resulting from the love of money. As Deborah points out, that no doubt includes the surfeit of law suits in the United States.

1 comment:

Deborah White said...

Thank you, Mark!

Yes, some wise pastor along my life's way taught the difference between money and the love of money.

My family and friends have their stories about how love of money tore important relationships apart. It must break God's heart.

The US is a wealthy of the wealthiest in world history. In many people, wealth seems to have awakened a hunger for ever more material wealth. My experience is that money is at the root of almost all lawsuits these days.

Thank you again, Mark, for the kind words.