I. Inverted Values in the Church

II. Five Truths Wrongly Placed

1. Justice and Repentant Sinners

2. All Have Sinned... But Not Every Sin

3. The Fault Does Not Always Lie with Both Parties

4. Neglect Is Injustice

5. Failure to Judge Is the Sin of Presumption

Truth Rightly Placed

III. Five Ways Sin and Oppression Relate

1. Sin of both parties wronging each other.

2. Sin in response to oppression.

3. Personal sin that entangles one with an oppressor.

4. No relevant sin to examine except the oppressor’s.

5. God’s hand using oppressive circumstances to reveal sin.

... Discernment About Our Own Sin

IV. A Word to the Poor and Oppressed

“A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.”
Proverbs 29:7

I. Inverted Values in the Church

Though many of us in our Christianity have become zealous for justice, love, forgiveness, and compassion, it seems today that there is still a real danger of people not actually walking out the justice we claim to love. The reason is this: many people today are far more focused on loving the wicked person and on their forgiveness than they are concerned with actually caring for the “the rights of the poor”. They fail to realize how their ambition for the “oppressor” often comes at the cost of forsaking justice for the “oppressed”.  

 

Many will not see this because on the surface they feel a concern for justice very strongly, yet when it truly comes down to the action that is necessary, they will back away from this action in the name of love or mercy for the perpetrator. They are so obligated to this notion of mercy that they will never act in the justice in which they are equally responsible to walk (Micah 6:8).

 

When they should be rebuking or disciplining people who do evil, they instead turn on the oppressed and shame them for being “unloving”, “unforgiving”, and “unmerciful”. While they love justice on the surface, they actually never act upon it, thereby neglecting those for whom they profess to have such care.

While it is good and right that we do not deny the cross to any person who seeks it, the church today has begun to swing in a strange bias toward favoring the perpetrator and leaving behind a right concern for the victim. The devil often cannot fool us into a type of wickedness where we clap for the evil person in their wickedness, but he can trick us into being overly obligated to these people by confusing us about what is actually good and right, thereby causing us to walk in favoritism. It’s just not how we expect favoritism toward the wicked to look. It is in this that the devil causes us to form a strange bias for those who do evil, under the notion of grace—so much so that we neglect those whose rights we are meant to be concerned with first.


We should concern ourselves with all people; we should go to prisons to minister and proclaim forgiveness in Christ for everyone. But some of the people who fall through the cracks the most today are the very poor for whom we profess to care. What are we intentionally doing to care for the victims of those people who are in prison? Do we even realize that the only thing we often have for victims is to pour “forgiveness” down their throats till they puke? Where is there any actual regard for the “rights of the poor”? Do we pursue justice for them as much as we pursue forgiveness for those who have done evil? Yet this is meant to be our ministry. And the Bible shows us that those who do not understand the right of the poor are actually wicked. We may picture in our heads a concern for these people but if we fail to actually live this out, then we fail to actually possess this true righteousness, and it is this that is the failure of so many. It has great costs on those who are already deeply suffering.

II. Five Truths Wrongly Placed

All of this comes because we believe that mercy removes justice, and we have begun to stop seeking justice as if this is somehow opposed to God. However, justice is essential to those who have suffered oppression and evil. We should ensure that in the midst of this we do not hate these oppressors to the extent of withholding the forgiveness that is found in Christ from them, but we have become strange servants of those who do evil in the name of a misguided mercy. This shows a failure to understand that the essentials of salvation involve repentance and a turning from evil, not just the forgiving of the evil done. We fail to understand that it is right to expect those who do evil to account for these things, to do what they can to make these things right (Luke 19:8, Lev 6:5, Num 5:7, Ex 22:1, Ez 33:15) and this belongs with righteousness—it is not opposed to it. We have begun to make the oppressed feel as if they are wrong for even wanting justice! How twisted and backwards this is. We have been tricked by the devil into opposing the rights of the poor. 

 

The church today has become deeply tangled in this matter, and is actually growing in a backwards favoring of the wicked while losing their grip on the rights of the poor. 

 

While yes, we are all in need of the truth that we are all sinners, the measures taken in the name of this have gone to an extreme in which we see this truth used more for the oppressor than for the oppressed. We are actually found neglecting the poor rather than upholding their rights. We condemn the poor for their need for their rights—we rebuke them for needing justice! We lecture them on all their needs as if they are evil for having them, telling them they are unforgiving and how they are “a sinner too”. Both of these things are real concerns! But when these things are applied in the wrong place, it is evil and a great harm (John 7:24). It is not always necessary or essential to focus on these matters in the case of people being oppressed! Often it is not necessary at all, yet so often this is the only thing many leaders bring to the issue. While the truth of the sin of unforgiveness and our own sinful state are absolutely truths in general, it does not mean they should always be applied to all circumstances as if they are the same. Often people that are trapped in abuse have very little issue with forgiveness; it is holding onto the facts of abuse (rather than dismissing them) that they need help and accountability with. I fear many people who should be the greatest help to the poor are becoming “worthless physicians” (Job 13:4), demanding their oversimplified explanations be accepted and treating those who refuse as rebellious and sinful for doing so. Worse, these people wrongfully apply great truths and thereby smear with lies the very victim they are meant to be helping. This was the great sin of Job’s friends. While much of what they said was true by itself, how they sought to apply this made it all harmful and a lie, an attack against Job.


We need to understand the truths of all of these issues, so we may judge rightly regarding situations where evil has been done. In the following sections we will look at where truths are commonly misplaced to the harm of the poor and oppressed, that we may learn discernment and act with godliness.

Though many of us in our Christianity have become zealous for justice, love, forgiveness, and compassion, it seems today that there is still a real danger of people not actually walking out the justice we claim to love. The reason is this: many people today are far more focused on loving the wicked person and on their forgiveness than they are concerned with actually caring for the “the rights of the poor”. They fail to realize how their ambition for the “oppressor” often comes at the cost of forsaking justice for the “oppressed”.  

 

Many will not see this because on the surface they feel a concern for justice very strongly, yet when it truly comes down to the action that is necessary, they will back away from this action in the name of love or mercy for the perpetrator. They are so obligated to this notion of mercy that they will never act in the justice in which they are equally responsible to walk (Micah 6:8).

 

When they should be rebuking or disciplining people who do evil, they instead turn on the oppressed and shame them for being “unloving”, “unforgiving”, and “unmerciful”. While they love justice on the surface, they actually never act upon it, thereby neglecting those for whom they profess to have such care.

#1 Justice and Repentant Sinners

All of this comes because we believe that mercy removes justice, and we have begun to stop seeking justice as if this is somehow opposed to God. However, justice is essential to those who have suffered oppression and evil. We should ensure that in the midst of this we do not hate these oppressors to the extent of withholding the forgiveness that is found in Christ from them, but we have become strange servants of those who do evil in the name of a misguided mercy. This shows a failure to understand that the essentials of salvation involve repentance and a turning from evil, not just the forgiving of the evil done. We fail to understand that it is right to expect those who do evil to account for these things, to do what they can to make these things right (Luke 19:8, Lev 6:5, Num 5:7, Ex 22:1, Ez 33:15) and this belongs with righteousness—it is not opposed to it. We have begun to make the oppressed feel as if they are wrong for even wanting justice! How twisted and backwards this is. We have been tricked by the devil into opposing the rights of the poor. 

 

The church today has become deeply tangled in this matter, and is actually growing in a backwards favoring of the wicked while losing their grip on the rights of the poor. 

 

While yes, we are all in need of the truth that we are all sinners, the measures taken in the name of this have gone to an extreme in which we see this truth used more for the oppressor than for the oppressed. We are actually found neglecting the poor rather than upholding their rights. We condemn the poor for their need for their rights—we rebuke them for needing justice! We lecture them on all their needs as if they are evil for having them, telling them they are unforgiving and how they are “a sinner too”. Both of these things are real concerns! But when these things are applied in the wrong place, it is evil and a great harm (John 7:24). It is not always necessary or essential to focus on these matters in the case of people being oppressed! Often it is not necessary at all, yet so often this is the only thing many leaders bring to the issue. While the truth of the sin of unforgiveness and our own sinful state are absolutely truths in general, it does not mean they should always be applied to all circumstances as if they are the same. Often people that are trapped in abuse have very little issue with forgiveness; it is holding onto the facts of abuse (rather than dismissing them) that they need help and accountability with. I fear many people who should be the greatest help to the poor are becoming “worthless physicians” (Job 13:4), demanding their oversimplified explanations be accepted and treating those who refuse as rebellious and sinful for doing so. Worse, these people wrongfully apply great truths and thereby smear with lies the very victim they are meant to be helping. This was the great sin of Job’s friends. While much of what they said was true by itself, how they sought to apply this made it all harmful and a lie, an attack against Job.


We need to understand the truths of all of these issues, so we may judge rightly regarding situations where evil has been done. In the following sections we will look at where truths are commonly misplaced to the harm of the poor and oppressed, that we may learn discernment and act with godliness.

Though many of us in our Christianity have become zealous for justice, love, forgiveness, and compassion, it seems today that there is still a real danger of people not actually walking out the justice we claim to love. The reason is this: many people today are far more focused on loving the wicked person and on their forgiveness than they are concerned with actually caring for the “the rights of the poor”. They fail to realize how their ambition for the “oppressor” often comes at the cost of forsaking justice for the “oppressed”.  

 

Many will not see this because on the surface they feel a concern for justice very strongly, yet when it truly comes down to the action that is necessary, they will back away from this action in the name of love or mercy for the perpetrator. They are so obligated to this notion of mercy that they will never act in the justice in which they are equally responsible to walk (Micah 6:8).

 

When they should be rebuking or disciplining people who do evil, they instead turn on the oppressed and shame them for being “unloving”, “unforgiving”, and “unmerciful”. While they love justice on the surface, they actually never act upon it, thereby neglecting those for whom they profess to have such care.

#2 All Have Sinned, But Not Every Sin

On the other hand, many people who are oppressed do often fail to understand their own sins. However, this point is used like Job’s friends upon them, wrongly placed so that they are accused of having done wrong where they haven’t done it. This is a great evil and hindrance to them! And it keeps them from seeing their sin; it doesn’t help them. Depending on the circumstance a person finds themselves in with an oppressive person, there is a significant chance that they didn’t sin against this person. There is such an evil assumption that circulates where people almost immediately seek out where the oppressed person’s sin is in the matter. This is a great cruelty to those who have done no wrong but are having wrong done to them and are seeking help in getting away from it. While we are all sinners, this never means that we all have sinned in all areas of our lives or against all people. The people who accuse others of this, falsely, are just as Job’s friends were to him. 


In light of this, though, many people who have suffered under oppressive/abusive people fail to go on to see outside of this particular circumstance where they do have their own sins. It is easy here for these people to think that they are the “good, meek, oppressed” ones, and that others are the sinners. This is the real danger. Sin should always be rebuked where sin is. The matter here is that we should profoundly avoid accusing people of having sin where they do not, and not fail to call out sin where it is.

Hindrances to Justice for the Oppressed

How Misplaced Mercy Burdens Victims & How to Begin to Correct It 

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