Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind; but thou shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:14).
The idea of cursing the deaf or putting something in the way of a blind person is quite cruel to most of us. Such actions are terrible ways of taking advantage of other people’s difficulties.
Should we believe that God is only concerned with those who are physically deaf or blind? There are many people in our world upon whom others prey– people who do not understand a lot of things, or who are rather naive.
It is quite interesting that it is only a few verses later that God declares that Israelites should “love [their] neighbor[s] as [themselves]” (v. 18), a concept also established in the new covenant (Romans 13:8-10).
God has no desire for anyone to take advantage of the deficiencies of their fellow men. Yet how many are so shallow and base as to do such things? Perhaps it is only a few revelers or punk kids who would curse the deaf or put hindrances before the blind. But there are many in society who profit off people in their ignorance and take advantage of people because of their circumstances.
Payday loan centers stay in business because of such practices. Banks have little difficulties loaning money to people who they know are unable to repay. Senior citizens and those who are disabled are especially prone to con men and con corporations. As opposed to trying to instill proper spending habits in people (especially the young), plenty of people, agencies, and corporations are more keen to profit on their ignorance or lack of self-control. The government looks away.
God is the God of the dispossessed (Exodus 22:21-23, James 5:1-6), and does not take kindly to people taking advantage of their fellow men. Our society would be much better off if these principles were more diligently considered. Love your neighbor as yourself– how much different would America be if people actually heeded this charge?
God is always concerned with the plight of the disadvantaged in society, and we would do well to “fear God” in this way. As Christians, we are to be merciful, and to treat others the way in which we would like to be treated (Luke 6:31-36). Let us not put a hindrance in anyone’s way; let us not be guilty of taking advantage of our fellow man in his weakness!