Search This Blog

Thursday, August 18, 2011

8/19/11 Speaking up for the Oppressed

Ninth Commandment: Do not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Deuteronomy 5:20)

8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. 9 Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

 59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Matthew 26:59-60

(The Mocking of Christ- Gerritt van Hornthorst 1617; Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

Thoughts: There is a sense in which Christians are called to stand up for those who are arrested for better treatment, because our Lord was arrested.  Until we are found guilty (in the United States Court system) then we are presumed innocent.  Part of the reason for that is that Jesus was condemned before he even had a chance to answer his accusers.  If Jesus can be arrested and crucified others who are innocent can too.  So Christians should always stand up for speaking truthfully and fairly. This does not mean, however, that the criminal should not be punished.  It only means criminals should be treated humanely and truthfully. 
     There is also a sense in which this command compells us to stand up for the oppressed and the bullied.  Christians are at their worst when they have gained power and become the oppressors.  The Jews, the homosexual, the ethnic minority, those of a minority religion have all been oppressed before.  Christians are called to treat all people as made in the image of God and one for whom Christ potentially has died.  This does not mean that it doesn't matter what we do or believe.  It does mean that people should be treated with grace and fairness. 
    When Christ was arrested, there were many false witnesses, but the true witnesses were quiet.  Peter who was brave enough to follow, was not brave enough to identify with Christ.  We should speak up for those who are oppressed and not being treated fairly- who cannot speak for themselves.

Prayer: Help us remember, Lord, how you were treated.  Help us to be true witnesses when others are false.

No comments:

Post a Comment