by Ntombikayise H Dlamini
Jesus Christ was clear, His ministry would change the lives of the captive and oppressed. While He certainly meant this on a spiritual level (meaning that every person is in desperate need of freedom from sin and death) Jesus also cared about oppression in a physical and relational sense.
Spiritual oppression and captivity are conditions that all of us are born into, but we must not forget that these things are experienced by many at a relational level as well. The “captive and oppressed,” in our day must also include those who live in fear of abuse (physical and otherwise) in their homes or churches, those who are raped, assaulted, preyed upon as minors, widows and others like them.
Jesus’s half brother James clearly understood this message. He said True Christianity must care for the weakest and most vulnerable in our communities. When Christians fail to do this or become complicit in the harm, James would say we have become “stained by the world” (James 1:27), marked by the very things we are called to change.
” But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; for he goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.
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