RELATIONSHIPS feature a grand truth of serene balance. Wherever there is an abuse of power – in that moment – a discernible resistance is the predictable and understandable response. Nobody enjoys being oppressed.
Whenever we have had recent experience of being under the thumb of another person – a wife, a husband, a boss, a coworker, a pastor, etc – we have known the motive of resistance.
This is more than Newton’s Third Law (every action has an equal and opposite reaction).
There is a dynamic in all our relationships that bears our frustration. We get sick of being used, compromised, ill-considered, abused, neglected – did I mention ‘used’? We get sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Having had a fresh event of such oppression (and it doesn’t matter how real or serious it is – if we feel it that’s what matters) we are faced with the same tired sense of abandonment to that justice we feel is deserved.
A safe sense of justice; it’s all we want, but it’s not forthcoming. The words and desires of our hearts fall on the deaf ears of their hearts. Minds don’t sync. Suddenly we are polarised in and within ourselves. We don’t want that, but do we really have a choice?
This is the impact of taking justice into our own hands: resistance. We resist.
A Better Way
Two ways are added to our understanding to give us strength and power in a seemingly weak and powerless situation.
The first has been raised above: we understand our resistance. It’s just what we must do to fight for a reasonable justice.
The second is a gospel response to oppression, which is exactly the opposite to resistance. Having understood the need to resist, and having experienced the grace of God as a choice – to fight the oppressor or to transcend their pathetic show of strength – we are able to provide a smile as our resistance, even if that smile is concealed on the underside of our soul.
That is the real and true victory. As we enjoy the thought of the Joy of the Lord – who has felt the injustice with us – we gain strength enough to resist by actually abiding with God in obeying by loving the oppressor.
Resistance is the understandable reaction to the wrongs done against us. But the supreme resistance is to transcend their aggression and to resist the oppressor with a smile because of the Joy of the Lord. It’s impossible to fight someone who refuses to fight back.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.