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Monday, May 10, 2010

Freedom from Oppression

“I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these words.” Nehemiah 5:6

One of the indicators of the place Christ holds in my heart is what things make me angry. When criticism or blocked expectations quickly set me off, or when I get upset that things don't go my way, or someone disagrees with me, that's usually an indication that Christ is not at the center of my life. On the other hand, anger in and of itself, is not wrong. In fact, there are things in this world that should make us angry. Nehemiah, after returning to Jerusalem to oversee the building of the wall, witnesses his people exacting interest from the poor among them and making other Jews sell themselves and their children into slavery to pay for the debt incurred. When Nehemiah observed this, he got angry. The oppression of his people by his people was too much for him to ignore. So he got angry. I'll get angry if I'm supposed to meet someone for something and they don't show up, but do I ever get angry at the oppression of my neighbors by my neighbors? Do I get angry at the drug trafficking that keeps poor people addicted to meth? Am I infuriated by the excessive spending done by churches while people literally one block are starving? Does it bother me when laws are passed that tear apart families and make it illegal to feed or clothe or shelter people in need just because they are an undocumented immigrant? Oppression is something that righteous men get angry about. When Jesus entered the temple and saw money lenders and merchants charging interest and overcharging for sacrifices, Jesus got angry. It seems there is a mistake in thinking that Christian maturity means never getting angry. The truth is, we should be angry, just not about the things we're typically mad about.

Lord Jesus, give us an anger towards oppression and sin. Fill us with disdain towards those things that plague your compassion!

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