I read something that said women are the most oppressed people group ever; not limited by culture, race, or time. Women are oppressed.
Don’t let the enemy fool you into thinking it’s only in third world countries this happens or is limited to human trafficking victims; it’s going on right before your very eyes. In your neighborhood, at work, yes even in your church.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” Isaiah 61:1 NLT
Jesus was for the oppressed! And if Jesus’ ministry was for those who were oppressed, shouldn’t we too know how to recognize and minister to those people?
So what is oppression? The dictionary has a few definitions.
1. prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control.
2. the state of being subject to unjust treatment or control
3. Abuse; spiritual, financial, emotional, physical, sexual
I think of oppression as authority gone rogue! An abuse of an authority position, usually for selfish gain. Authority is given by God for protection of the people put under them. The President of the United States is given authority over the people. His job is to lead and make decisions not just for himself, but with the protection of the people he’s over in mind. If he uses his authority over the people in a way to control or manipulate the people, that is oppression. We see it all over the world on a larger scale in other countries, but are we blind to those same practices on smaller scales right here in our back yard?
Most people understand that physical control of someone isn’t easily taken. I mean if you’ve had a toddler you know this is no joke! In war the prison guards understand this and actually use emotional abuse tactics against the prisoners of war; manipulation and control of their mind, because once they become a prisoner in their mind, their physical body will follow suit. That is oppression.
Can you imagine the courage it would take someone, who likely has PTSD, to step forward and speak out about her problem? Remember, someone who feels like a prisoner of war. She likely feels trapped. She is definitely struggling past her fear. Don’t mistake it, this is a war over your sister. Most likely a spiritual war, will you be willing to pick up your shield of faith, cover her in prayer, and wield your sword of truth to fight for her?
The Lord showed me this picture of a woman in the middle of the ocean drowning. She’s keeping herself above water enough to live but she’s reaching for help. There’s a large thumb that’s pushing her head from getting up too far; you see the thumb wants her alive, but not able to do anything more. She’s reaching for life vests. She’s crying out to be seen. Well meaning people come forward and see her but then walk away; it’s too much. Some throw her a life vest but then walk away; however she’s tired and needs to get out from under that thumb, she can’t do it alone. Some simply stand on the shore and call out to her to try a little harder and she will eventually wade out; in the name of suffering.
She needs you to believe her.
She needs you to see her.
She needs you to hear her.
She needs you to love her.
She needs you to support her.
She doesn’t need you to point out her flaws.
She doesn’t need you to gash her with the sword of truth; her wounds are many and deep.
She doesn’t need you to dismiss her pain.
She doesn’t need you to minimize what’s happening to her.
If we are to war for her we must bring the right balance of compassion and truth. Jesus’ ministry to the oppressed was filled with compassion for the hurting. While he loved the oppressors too, He consistently wielded the sword of truth at the Pharisees for their oppressive practices. See balance. This Word of truth is a sword, a weapon! Let’s make sure we point it and wield it carefully with wisdom. These oppressed daughters have endured much, sort of like death by 1000 papercuts. We must be gentle with their wounded hearts.
Just because our sister doesn’t look physically held captive, doesn’t mean she’s not. Don’t believe only what you see with your natural eyes. Ask the Lord for spiritual eyes to see! These women are out there and if we are looking, listening we can hear their cry for help.
Today I’m ending with a passage from scripture. It’s the story of a Levite man and his concubine. They are traveling to Jerusalem and stop to rest in Jebusite. They waited in the city center for someone to open their home to them for the night. A man came along and invited them in. I can’t read this without my heart breaking.
Judges 19:21-30 NLT
“So he took them home with him and fed the donkeys. After they washed their feet, they ate and drank together. While they were enjoying themselves, a crowd of troublemakers from the town surrounded the house. They began beating at the door and shouting to the old man, “Bring out the man who is staying with you so we can have sex with him.” The old man stepped outside to talk to them. “No, my brothers, don’t do such an evil thing. For this man is a guest in my house, and such a thing would be shameful. Here, take my virgin daughter and this man’s concubine. I will bring them out to you, and you can abuse them and do whatever you like. But don’t do such a shameful thing to this man.” But they wouldn’t listen to him. So the Levite took hold of his concubine and pushed her out the door. The men of the town abused her all night, taking turns raping her until morning. Finally, at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman returned to the house where her husband was staying. She collapsed at the door of the house and lay there until it was light. When her husband opened the door to leave, there lay his concubine with her hands on the threshold. He said, “Get up! Let’s go!” But there was no answer. So he put her body on his donkey and took her home. When he got home, he took a knife and cut his concubine’s body into twelve pieces. Then he sent one piece to each tribe throughout all the territory of Israel. Everyone who saw it said, “Such a horrible crime has not been committed in all the time since Israel left Egypt. Think about it! What are we going to do? Who’s going to speak up?””
The man who should have protected her, sent her out to be used, abused, and raped by a pack of men to save himself. The next morning he didn’t even notice she had died on the steps as he barked at her to “get up.” The icing on the cake was when he took her home and cut her body up and cried out as if HE was the victim.
Maybe the sister in your sphere of influence hasn’t been sent out like that. Instead she has been used as an object of gratification, abused (whether emotional, verbal, sexual, physical, financial), raped and robbed of her identity. Her ability to be a person, then left to die inside of herself. While the man who has authority over her, cuts her character up into pieces and cries out as the victim to save his reputation. To save himself.
Lord Jesus give us eyes what our natural eyes can not. Give us ears to hear her internal crying out. Give us courage to not pass her by.
Lord God, I pray that you’d open our eyes to see and ears to hear and recognize oppression around us. I pray you’d stir the hearts of your sons to fight for their sisters as if they were fighting for you! Right now, Lord I pray you’d raise them up! These are your daughters Lord and we can not leave one behind! Provide resources for them Lord as they need and raise up people in their lives to hear and see them Lord. They need to be seen.
in Jesus’ name and authority I pray, Amen!