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Say Something

Weekly Devotionals

Say Something

17 Learn to do right; seek justice.

Defend the oppressed.

Take up the cause of the fatherless;

plead the case of the widow.

Isaiah 1:10-17 (Read all the verses)

2020…what a year so far. I write to you sober-minded and sober-hearted. For some of us, what I’m about to say may sound like a broken record, but this record needs to play on until there is substantial change…BLACK LIVES MATTER. I’ve been hesitant to speak out because of my desire to stay neutral and to be compassionate to both sides of the aisle. Admittedly part of it had to do with fear because I don’t like confrontation; and I don’t like to be called out for contributing to racism or for not caring. I thought I was compassionate because I view my black brothers and sisters in my community as no different from me, and we have always been on very friendly terms conversing with and praying for each other. But I realized that’s not enough. It’s not enough because I was silent on this glaringly enormous issue that affects nearly every aspect of the lives of my black brothers and sisters, my friends. It comes down to oppression. I can’t even begin to unpack how they’ve been oppressed because 1) my shallow understanding would under-serve their hardships and 2) it is historically deep, woven and layered into the fabric of societies.

Jubilee’s theme verse, Luke 4:18-19 says “to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Jesus took this from Isaiah 61. But earlier in Isaiah, the very first chapter, God harshly rebukes his people, comparing them to Sodom and Gomorrah, the cautionary by-word of divine punishment for rebellion. Essentially in these verses (above), God is telling his people that he is sick of their worship and their sacrifices; he will no longer listen to their prayers. Why? Because they did not do right. They did not seek justice. They did not defend the oppressed. They did not take up the cause of the weakest and most underprivileged of society (at that time widows and orphans). According to these verses, God is not calling them out for all these bad things they did. He was calling them out for what they did NOT do. In other words, they were silent.

There are many injustices in this world that many of us are and are not aware of. And I know that not everybody reading this is from the United States or even knows anything about George Floyd. But racism against black minorities is a world-wide problem (except where they make up the vast majority). And the systemic oppression against our black brothers and sisters needs to be addressed, and it needs to be fought against. And it needs to start with the church, the body of Christ our Lord, who laid down his life to set the oppressed free. If we call ourselves disciples, followers of Jesus, we will do the same. We will lay down our lives for the sake of the oppressed, or at least defend them and take up their cause (read v. 17 again).

So how can we break the silence? If you have any conviction, say something. If you don’t have any conviction, then do a little research, talk to people and see why this is important (if you dare, start with this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb9_qGOa9Go). After you stick your neck out, be ready for backlash and be ready to suffer alongside them. This is the way of the cross, the way of Jesus. But I encourage you, implore you: don’t walk away from reading this back into a place of silence. Consider our black brothers and sisters who face oppression every day at nearly every level, that which most of us will never face ever in our lives. Consider them. Acknowledge them. Say something. That’s a starting point.