The apostle James, the half brother of Jesus, has written to us about refusing to show favoritism and racism and classism. He challenges us to refuse to discriminate or carry prejudice in our hearts, but instead to assign infinite value to everyone who is made in the image of God.
James gives us two challenges: speak and act. I talked about the first one in the previous devotional, and it was about speaking up on behalf of those who are oppressed. James says, “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged, because mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:12-13 NIV) So speak, yes. But act as well.
I can see racism in our society. I can see inequality. I can see the oppression of people based on the color of their skin, or their economic status, or their gender. I can see that, but I don’t know what to do.
Here are a couple of ideas. You can communicate with the oppressed and have open, honest conversations with them. You can also vote. You can share the Scriptures. You can donate to causes that are working on equality for all.
There are different things that you can do, but the instruction is that we act in some way. It’s. not enough to say I’m on the side of the oppressed. I must be willing to step in and act on their behalf.
Jesus preached a gospel that was good news for the prisoner. It was good news for the oppressed. It was good news for the blind. It was good news for broken people. So I want our gospel, as we embody it, as we live it out, as we show love to other people, I want it to demonstrate that Jesus is good news to people who are oppressed.
I want to challenge you to today to just ask: how do I live, how do I act in such a way that lines up with the value Jesus has given me in seeing the image of God in every person I meet, loving them as my neighbor, and sharing good news and hope with them?
It’s our responsibility to speak up when we see a problem. Find your boldness. Pray for people. Vote. Reach out. Give. Donate. Help. Serve. Take care of people. Meet needs. Just find ways to do what needs to be done to communicate that Jesus is good news for the broken.