Inspired by Hebrews 11:23-28
“By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.” Hebrews 11:24-25 (NRSV)
Many of us were born into a certain level of privilege. We happen to belong to the dominant race of our society, or our parents raised us in financially stable homes where educational opportunities abounded and achievement and prosperity were expected. We assumed positions of power, acknowledging the inequalities of the system but absolving ourselves of responsibility because we didn’t create it.
But whether we created it or not, acceptance of our positions in such a system perpetuates that system, and actively subjects others to injustice and exploitation. Even if we merely participate in the cultural norms we’ve inherited, we are guilty of oppression.
It takes much courage to eschew our inherited privilege and speak out against the status quo in order to give voice to those who have long been silenced. It takes much strength and humility to join and identify ourselves with the exploited and abused. Yet God can give us the strength, the humility, and the courage to do all that and more. God calls us to recognize the most vulnerable in our societies as his beloved children and our brothers and sisters, and to use whatever privileges we’ve inherited or earned to ensure the dignity and wellbeing of all people.
Have faith that the One who created you does not value you according to your privilege or status, but according to his gracious love. Trust in him as you not only recognize the inequalities inherent in the systems we’ve inherited, but as you eschew the benefits of that system for the sake of those it exploits.
Let us pray. God of courage, you are the source of our strength. Embolden us to reject the privileges of an unjust system, that we may help bring freedom to the oppressed. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.