This week in our Nehemiah series, we saw Nehemiah facing oppression from within his own camp. Famine gave way to poverty, and those in need took out loans from their neighbors. These neighbors charged high interest, leaving the poor with no way to pay, with some even considering selling their own family members into slavery to pay it back. Nehemiah, in the position of governor, confronted this injustice and made things right. Here's what we can learn from him:
Nehemiah's heart is broken for the same things that break God's heart.
The Lord hates injustice and oppression. Several times, the Bible refers to God as "a refuge for the oppressed." Because these things hurt God, they hurt Nehemiah. Nehemiah is angry, but it is an anger born of compassion for others.
Being a Christian means having God's heart.
Like Nehemiah, we ought to care about the things God cares about. Part of being a Christian means being transformed into Christ's likeness, which includes a change of heart. A great example of someone with God's heart is David, called "a man after God's own heart." He displayed compassion for the oppressed in his actions toward Mephibosheth. David wasn't perfect, but his heart was attuned to the things of God. As Christians, our lives should contain evidence of our own change of heart.
Christians should be especially responsive to injustice within the church
While Christians should seek justice in all of life, they should be especially quick to right wrongs within the church. The world knows we are Christians by our love for one another. If we ignore oppression and injustice within the family of God, how will we display that love? Let's consider what Christ has done for us, and love others as he has loved us.
Questions to Consider:
What areas of oppression break my heart?
Am I acting out of the love that Christ has shown for me?
What do I need to do address the issues of oppression and injustice that God has placed within my purview?