Oppression

Whenever we think of “oppression” we always think of the stronger and the richer taking advantage of the weaker and the poorer. But this is not always true.

There are times when the roles are reversed: the so-called poor abuse the kindness of the rich and plot against them. Or the “weak” take advantage of his/her weakness to claim that the strong has hurt him. Women are good at this. I’m not proud of that, but that is a fact.

Today, I saw a man graciously admit wrong without shaming his accuser, who actually provoked him first, and has been provoking him longer. But eventually we — yes, we were women who cared about him and his family — convinced him to fight for himself, because the record that was written against him included that he was hurting his wife and daughter, who both said that while he can have a foul temper after a few drinks, he does not hit them. His wife and daughter accompanied him for the counter-complaint (?), and hopefully, a more accurate story will be written down.

Recently, the Lord has been speaking to me of relying on Him by choosing to meditate on His word, and one of the passages that has been challenging me is Jeremiah 17:5 “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD.” According to the pastor I listened to (Joseph Prince), the “man” in the subject place is the Hebrew word that means “strong man”, not “man” in general. And he said that it means it can also refer to us believing Christians, because we are not immune to the tendency to panic when things begin to go crazy, and in that panic to frantically search our minds for formulas that have worked in the past to try to work things out.

But relying on past successes has the inherent trap of forgetting that the new situation is not the same as the last one, and therefore what worked then very possibly will not work now. So when it fails, we panic even more, then we look for experts to help us, advice us, and so it goes…

All these are NOT bad moves. BUT if they are our FIRST move, rather than the counter-intuitive drawing apart to bring the concern to the Lord, like what King Hezekiah did after receiving a threatening letter from the general of an invading army (see story in 2 Kings 18-19), then they will lead to our ruin.

In choosing to meditate on God’s word — to speak the word of the Lord to yourself often, not just thinking of it in your head, or sitting down, closing your eyes, and breathing — we fight the tendency to seek our own solutions first, to search our own archives for answers first, and we bring ourselves to the Lord FIRST. Many times, the answer really does lie somewhere in our past experiences, but only the Lord God who knows the end from the beginning knows how to properly order those past lessons into an effective plan of action for the present crisis. And as we stay our minds on Him through the constant remembering and reminding of ourselves of His promises to us, it is as if our minds are enabled to follow HIS mind, see HIS way — and then see HIS solution, HIS way through the crisis.

It doesn’t matter if you are the stronger or the weaker man. Our strength is only as good as the strength of the thing we are relying on. And so is our oppressor’s strength. Are we going to meet our oppressor’s strength with our own? Or are we willing to trust in the strength of One who not only carries the expanse of the universe in the span of His hand, but bore the even greater burden of our sin, then hurled it from us as far as the east is from the west?

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9 New King James Version

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