By Leonard Karshima Shilgba
“Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet – the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them.” [Ecclesiastes 4:1]
You may presently be a victim of oppression, or a dispenser of acts of oppression on your family, neighbours, colleagues, staff, or fellow citizens. No matter whatever divide you fall in, know this:
“If you see the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgement and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter. He that is higher than the highest regards; and there is that is higher than them (the oppressors) [Ecclesiastes 5:8].
Without question, the oppressed is almost giving up on life, disappointed, angry, sad, sorrowful, and certainly dismayed that the needed help or rescue is yet to come. I should tell you the oppressed to not put your hope in man or any government- local, state, regional, or national. A major source of a sense of disappointment felt by many people is expectation of good from man. The only goodness you should expect from man is that which divine grace affords for time, place, and purpose. When you expect no help from man or government, but look up to him who is higher than the highest (God) you won’t be disappointed.
Tormenting your soul often by the failings of man or government will hasten the deterioration of your physical and mental health, and corrupt your soul. Pitiable are those who put their confidence in government, or who make government their God.
To the oppressor, I say: “You are limited by time, space, and ability. There is only so much that you can do, and then no more. And you will certainly pay a mortal price for your wickedness to fellow human beings.”
You the oppressed should not expect justice from man or man’s courts and arbitration settings either:
“And moreover, I saw under the sun the place of justice, that wickedness was there, and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.” [Ecclesiastes 3:16]
Are we not often shocked, nauseous, and horrified that wickedness should come from a supposed place of justice (e.g. a court of law and a human rights commission) , and that iniquity should be associated with a supposed institution of righteousness (e.g. a local church)? Please, tamper down your expectations of human institutions, and you will enjoy your life. Rather, allow yourself to be surprised by man’s momentary, accidental, and incidental acts of goodness toward you, but put not a wager on it.
Judgement is verdict passed on a deed or someone, which affects one way and another the target either in human perception or fortune. Know this friend, that man’s judgement does not influence God’s opinion or purpose for you. Never drown yourself in the river of sorrows you have presently jumped into. Before you bury your entire self inside its choking swirl, let me ask you this question: Does your oppressor control your choice of reaction? You can choose God’s help, and live in oblivion of the oppressor. Don’t give your oppressors too much credit. Oppressors share three common qualities:
1. They are all foolish and not smart. Smart people never think that they will have peace by making others sorrowful;
2. Every oppressor is fearful and lacks healthy self-esteem and -confidence. Their acts of oppression are poor covering for their naked diffidence; and
3. Every oppressor is ignorant of the value and strength of their target victim. No wonder they always pay a price – a costly price.
People’s opinion of you counts for nothing. Rather, it is your maker’s opinion of you that matters. If you still insist on burying your head inside this river of sorrow, let me quote for you what Apostle Paul wrote. For your information, this man knew betrayal at the hands of even “Christians”, whom he refers to as “false brethren”. He was dismayed, suffered material lack, attacked by robbers even while on missionary assignments for his God, abandoned by friends and associates, and in the end, while waiting to be executed by the Roman government, he wrote to his protege’ Timothy: “All men have forsaken me, but Jesus stood with me.” Now, this is what Apostle Paul wrote about man’s rating, judgement, or opinion polling:
1 Corinthians 4:3-4: “It matters very little to me what you think of me, even less where I rank in popular opinion. I don’t even rank myself. Comparisons in these matters are pointless. I’m not aware of anything that would disqualify me from being a good guide for you, but that doesn’t mean much. The Master makes that judgment.”
Friend, you need to live for God, not even for self. Never continue under the oppression and tyranny of your self-will. Please, don’t be its victim.
Rather, submit to God’s righteousness, which is living by what God has revealed in his Word. This submission is called “walking in the Spirit ” or “walking by faith.”
You can overcome this wicked evil world only by faith. And this saving faith is given to you only after being born by God, which is being transformed by the Word of God – the truth, which controls and influences all of your acts and reactions in life. It is just like a medical student, who exposes his mind regularly to medical learning, knowledge, and training (together called medical truth). With passage of time, the internal transformation, which is due to the acquired medical knowledge, makes him to practice medicine. Being transformed by the renewing of the mind by divine truth, is being “born again”, or “born of the truth.”
Friends, it is this transformation that makes me not to be moved by man’s wickedness, circumstances, or this evil world. I am sold into God’s truth, and overcome every evil the world hurls at me. I don’t lean on men, but on God, and I don’t feast on or expect man’s praises, nor do I worry about man’s opinion of me. This gives me regular victory and abiding peace through Jesus Christ.
Believe in Jesus Christ (all his claims and sacrifice for you) and you shall have him take over your life completely like a rapidly spreading cancerous growth, and live his life daily in your human body. Can a mad person resist the dictates of the strange forces that live inside of him or her? Certainly not. In the same way cannot a Christ-possessed person live contrary to Christ. What righteousness and victory!
*Prof Leonard K. Shilgba
Bible Clinic Ministry