In church on a December Sunday, we sang the beloved carol “O Holy Night.” One line in the second verse really got me thinking:
“Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace.
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease.”
Wow. In His name. All oppression? How awesome is that?
Yeah, but… how’re we doing so far?
Not so awesome. Yes, Christians often get mocked, intimidated, or silenced. Some experience official pressure to violate their own conscience. We don’t like it. We want this oppression to cease.
But that goes both ways. If you want all oppression to cease, then
Do Not Oppress Anyone.
Those of us who claim the name of Jesus have some soul-searching to do. I doubt many American Christians are holding slaves or unlawfully seizing our neighbors’ property. But we must also make sure we don’t…
> Mock, intimidate, silence, or punish anyone whose race, beliefs, gender, or opinions differ from our own
> Force immigrating refugees back into danger
> Interfere with anyone’s right to campaign for the candidate they choose
> Force anyone else to violate his or her own conscience
> Shun or boycott someone for telling the truth
I believe that line in the Christmas carol comes from Jesus’ first recorded sermon, in Luke’s gospel. He addressed the synagogue by reading from the prophecy of Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed…”
Then he told the people that he was the fulfillment of that prophecy. Everything was fine until he pointed out that God loves other people besides the Jews.
That’s when the whole crowd tried to lynch him.
I guess the question is–When Jesus teaches us to love one another and treat everyone with respect because God loves those who are different from us…
Do we follow his example?
Or would we rather lynch him?
I welcome your comments in the “Your Turn…” box below.
Thanks for reading,