Unfortunately, the world today is full of people who have suffered abuse at the hands of other people. For reasons we may not fully understand, victims of abuse often become abusers, themselves. The abuse begets abuse, and the cycle may continue for generations.
The abuse may take the form of parent to child, spouse to spouse, boss to employee, slave owners to slaves, and even governments can wiled oppressive control over the people subject to their authority. People in positions of power abuse people in positions of vulnerability. We haven’t advanced all that much as beings for eons. In some ways, we might have become more sophisticated about the abuse, but the abuse continues, generation after generation.
The Jewish people of Judea, modern Israel and Palestine, were oppressed and abused by the Roman government in the First Century when Jesus walked the earth. Jesus began his public ministry by reading from the prophet Isaiah,
“The Spirit of the LORD is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free….” (Luke 4:18, quoting from Isaiah 61:1)
But he certainly wasn’t concerned only with the oppressive rule of the Roman government. He was concerned about all people everywhere who suffer abuse. Jesus said,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.”
(Matthew 5:3-5) Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven….” (Matthew 5:11-12)
But not just in heaven. Jesus healed people wherever he went. He made the blind see, the deaf hear and the lame walk. He cast demons out of people who were oppressed by demons. Jesus came demonstrating on earth the promises of heaven. The first thing Jesus preached was this: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 4:17) He taught us to pray: Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10)
When we respond to Jesus and repent of our sin, repent of going our own way, turn to God and receive Him as our Lord and Savior, we are born again, born from above. We get a taste, the first fruits, of heaven. It changes us from the inside out. The Spirit of Jesus, who came healing, preaching good news to the poor, setting captives free, takes residence in us, and we begin to experience the freedom that God desires us to have.
God desires to heal us and set us free. In exchange for our broken selves, abused and bruised, God takes residence in us and heals us, fills up the empty spaces and begins to set us free. That is the story of many a person who has suffered abuse at the hands of other people. Click on the link below to hear the stories of captives who have been and are being set free.