My oldest son has a heart for the oppressed. Whether it is due to race, socioeconomic status, gender, orientation or mental health, he will use his voice, his time and his resources to make a difference. Knowing this, I shouldn’t have been surprised last week when he said he was going with a group of friends to join the protest at the George Floyd memorial. My first reaction was pride. Underneath it was a slight concern for his wellbeing.
While he was there, a pastor started a worship service. The pastor began to pray for healing. My son was brought to tears. As he sat on the curb, three people came over and laid hands on him as the prayer for healing continued. His tears continued flow as he was convicted that we must change.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17).
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. (Matthew 23:23 NIV)
It is easy to sit outside an oppressed population pointing fingers and claiming what should be done. My son decided to get inside the situation and listen to understand.
Oppression is tangled and messy. We live in a world where rhetoric reigns, and it’s difficult to sort through it to find truth, to find solutions, to see human lives. Justice, mercy, grace are all critical aspects of Jesus’s ministry. Over and over again we are called to defend the oppressed, to care for the poor, help the sick.
Changing generations of oppression and the systems that reinforce it won’t be an easy task. It will take a long time, but it is critical that those of us who follow Jesus to start from where we are at and listen. We need to be willing to self examine. We need to be willing to engage in change. It will take all of us.
Are you willing to engage in change? Are you wiling to dig into Jesus’s call to care for the poor and oppressed? Are you willing to examine your understandings? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.