Saturday, May 13, 2017

Slavery and Servitude

I was astounded recently: Not only did the student government vote to pay reparations to blacks at Western Kentucky University, but a few weeks later so did the faculty senate! With the first vote I considered their age, and merely thought the students foolish. When the faculty voted the same, then I realized the foolish were creating the fools. "Perhaps," I thought, "it was merely a majority of the faculty who voted that way," but then found that thirty of thirty-four voted in favor.

Of course, the time of slavery is far removed, but it's memory lingers on. I believe that the vote was for two reasons: (1) the number of minority instructors at western, and (2) white guilt. Of course, when I feel guilty, I do something about it. I don't place that responsibility on others. Perhaps a good remedy for those who feel that reparations are in order is for them to voluntarily share their white privilege with those who were born black. I see nothing wrong with that. That is the charitable thing to do.

However, this commentary is not so much about white guilt but servitude. Perhaps the persecuted are looking for relief in the wrong places. Perhaps the persecuted are effectually causing their own persecution by opening old wounds and demanding what is not theirs. Of course, that is arguable but most reasonable people understand that this generation is not responsible for slavery. Demanding that just because whites exist makes them guilty is foolishness. Who then, is responsible for slavery?

Slavery is evil. As such, the evil one is responsible for slavery. I assure the reader, that fallen angel isn't going to pay anyone, and most of us are not going to pay tribute for him! I won't go into the history of slavery, but all races have suffered slavery. Right now, even, most people are slaves. There are few that are free!

In the beginning, there was no slavery. Not because there were few people, but because mankind had not yet sinned. When our forebears sinned, they caused slavery and the need for it. Adam's penalty was hard work - by the sweat of his brow. Because work is hard and mankind still placed themselves alongside God, they sought others to toil for them. Slavery came about in the beginning because men worshipped themselves. As such, they needed to be appeased. Pleasure seemed to make them content, and avoiding hard work allowed them to enjoy pleasure. As such, mankind enslaved himself to Satan because he made a pact with them - eat of the tree and enjoy it's fruit. So in man's own wisdom he became a slave to Satan, albeit because he was deceived!
John 8:34 ( ESV) "Jesus answered them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.'"
Since Adam, we all were once slaves to sin. With the born-again experience, Christians are emancipated from slavery, and as new creatures, we voluntarily become servants to Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:5 ( ESV) "For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake."
Jesus, the ultimate servant, served up himself for all us "slaves to sin" that we may be free! His truth is what emancipated mankind:
John 8:31 (ESV) "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.' 33 They answered him, 'We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, "You will become free’?'"
The Jews missed two points: (1) They had often been slaves (e.g., in Egypt), and (2) they were still slaves! The first was slaves to man, and the latter - slaves to sin. Although they had been freed from slavery to man, they were still slaves to sin! This is much like the blacks of today: long ago they were freed from man but are still slaves to sin. What sin? For one: "You shall not covet." They want what is not theirs! You might rationalize, "But it is theirs because of injustice." But those who did the injustice are long dead, and many of those were blacks themselves (you do the research, but that is truth).

Rather than desiring what is not theirs, the education which is available is by grace. The path to grace is unfortunate, but blacks are only here because God allowed it. He could have snuffed out the slave trade centuries ago, but he allowed it. He didn't come to save the world from mankind but from sin!

Most of our forebears endured hardship to get where we are. My antecedents were indentured servants, and as such, were slaves for a few years. Even today, I suffer from the past because throughout the history of America, my own line has lived in poverty. My generation has been blessed because we were not jealous of the success of others. Never one time did I ever hear my own poor father blame others for our poverty, but he stepped up and my generation arose from the red clay to the sandy loam of the affluent. It was work, not a gift, and it was by God's grace we looked and received.

Mankind should never look toward others for justice, or the escape from slavery. It's only God who can provide freedom, and the mindset of I deserve is contrary to God's grace. Blacks will achieve what some of us have. It won't be by the grace of man, but the grace of God. To receive grace it must be searched for in the right spots. That is not from the sweat from others, but the from the blood of Christ!

That is not to say that Christians should not help others. We should never help those who demand it because their heart still belongs to Satan. We are to serve those who serve Christ. Rather than those seeking reparations demanding what is not theirs, they should look to the One who provides.

Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying it well: "Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime." He didn't say anything about giving him a free education. He favored equal chances, and did not guarantee equal outcomes.

What must blacks do? Serve! What must we all do? Serve! If we're busy serving God and others, it's not on us that we focus. We should all be God-centered and he will provide. In fact, the Abrahamic Covenant is for those who obey God's decrees, they will prosper. Prosperity comes from serving!
 Mark 9:35 ( ESV) "And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

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