November 9, 2012
“Relieve the oppressed,”
Sounds like a pretty good occupation. I mean, relieve the oppressed… who wants to be oppressed anyway. And it goes along with seeking justice. To relieve the oppressed we probably have to seek justice at some point or other.
But let’s look at this a little closer.
Relieve: to be straight (used in the widest sense, especially to be level, right, happy); to go forward, be honest, proper.
Oppressed: violent, a robber. From a root which means: to be pungent, sour in taste, fermented, harsh, dazzling (in color).
OK. Maybe this isn’t such a pretty picture anymore.
We could just say it means exactly what it looks like: relieve the oppressed from their oppressors.
But, looking at the word definitions, I not exactly sure that that’s what is meant here.
But to make happy the oppressor. To cause the oppressor to be straight….
This doesn’t quite make sense. But then again, maybe it does.
The violent are held by chains just as much as the oppressed are.
Different chains, maybe, but held by chains just the same.
And yet, the violent are so often ignored. We focus on healing the broken, but we forget that those who break are broken too.
Healing the broken is important. I would not dream of saying we should ignore them, and neither does Isaiah. But healing those who break is just as important.
But to do this, we must forgive. We must truly be washed clean. We must truly want justice.
Because only then can we go out and rattle those binding chains of those who destroyed us.