Oppressed

Aug 23 – Helping the Oppressed Doesn’t Take Away From You

3:236 – Helping the Oppressed Doesn’t Take Away From You

#faithbites #faithjourney oppressed

Sometimes the Sunday sermon is ho-hum. It’s a lesson we have heard before but need to hear again. Other days it’s good and we get something out of it. Then there are special days like today, when they hit a nerve. Today’s was how do we as Christians help those who are oppressed and what does it mean. Our Pastor took on the very controversial discussion of All Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter. Both statements are true and can be true at the same time. His main point was throughout history different members of God’s family have been oppressed: the Israelites, the widowers, the sick, the lost, the poor. That God wants us to ask, “What can I do to help”, rather than be defensive about the term. I know I’m not doing him justice when I recap this.

When we look at someone, is the first thing we say is “That is a Child of God” or do we say “that is black man”, “that is a latinx woman”, that is a “homosexual man”. What do we say? When we first identify as children of God, then we want to help our brothers and sisters. All need God’s love, it’s just during specific times, when there are subsets of All Lives that need help.

I have linked the sermon here as I think it’s wonderful and truly gets to the matter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAQXMxbT3Y8&t=3861s. The specific time for the message is: 15:21 – 38:50. I would encourage you to take some time and watch this message.

Scripture
  • Isaiah 1:12-20 – When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony? 13 Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting— they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings. 14 I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them! 15 When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims. 16 Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. 17 Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. 18 “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD . “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. 19 If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. 20 But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
  • Matthew 20:20-34 – 20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 21 “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” 22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. 23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” 24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. 33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
Reflection

I know that’s a lot of scripture to read and they are very important to this message. God, through Isaiah, is saying that pomp and circumstance around worshiping him isn’t needed. That looking out for those who are oppressed is what is needed. In Matthew, even the disciples are jockeying for favor and position and not realizing that to lead means to serve. To give everything for those who are oppressed. Later on in the Mattew text, we see two blind men, who were outcasts, trying to get Jesus’s attention. The crowd tried to quiet them as they were not important. They still yelled and Jesus seeing they needed help, asked what he could for them. He didn’t walk away and say well everyone here is important let me help everyone. He asked those who were outcasts and needed his help at that time. Then after he helped those who were oppressed, they stood up and followed him.

For us to grow the family of Jesus, we need to seek out those who are oppressed, those who need help, and share the love of Christ with them. We be like Jesus, listen to those crying out, ask them how we can help, and then help them.

We can turn a blind eye to the struggles of a group by saying that all of God’s children matter which doesn’t listen to those crying out. Instead, let us ask those crying out, what can I do to help.

This is a hard message to write and a hard message to hear. I admit I judge those I see as what they look like rather than them being a child of God. Then I will try to solve their problems with how I would solve them. I catch my self on a daily basis trying to suggest solutions without listening and asking. What could God’s family look like if we listened, asked, then acted?

Challenge

When you hear “Black Lives Matter”, what is your response? When you hear “All Lives Matter”, what is your response? Try to look at all people as a Christ Child and ask how you can help. What can you do to share the love of Christ and help them in whatever struggle they have? Helping them doesn’t negate what you’ve been through or what help you need as well.

Prayer

Father God, you love ALL your children no matter where they come from or who they are. Help us to love ALL of your children. Let us realize that today, just like in history, there are subgroups of ALL that need our specific help. If it’s the unborn, the poor, the black, the oppressed, whoever it is we need to mobilize and help.

Lord, remind us that your grace and love is sufficient for all of us. That you have room in your heart for us to help ALL people even if we specifically work on one group who needs it most. Lord, this is not easy, but we know that you will work through the Holy Spirit in our hearts to change our hearts and minds. We love you and give you all the glory. Amen.

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