In which there is oppression

by Craig on April 7, 2011


If there is God – then there is Satan.

And if there are angels there are demons.

The good news is that angels aren’t little babies with wings.

When people see them in the Bible they are either normal people sized, or majestic, beyond description, big and powerful. Angels aren’t wimps.

Then there are those demons – the Bible never really describes what they look like. They’re just voices – mostly hiding like insects under a rock. Turn the rock over – expose them to the sun and they panic.

Good Christians can debate this ad infinitum. I’m not looking for inter-Christian debate anymore. I used to. I’ve decided that I just need to be a “living sacrifice” and not be all theoretical and debate-y.

But most Christians agree that angels and demons exist today and are active.

Angels like light – and they do love.

Demons prefer shadows – and oppress.

They burden us, sadden us, and weigh us down.
They cause distress and trouble and torment. They seek to discourage, demoralize and dishearten us. Where there is hope they bring dismay. Where there is calm, they agitate and unhinge. Where there is peace they bring worry.

They want us feeling overwhelmed, and upset, and unnerved and staggering and confused.

They oppress.

Peter once described Our Lord as one who “went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil.” (Acts 10:38)

There’s that word, “oppress”.

Monday of this week I had a person disappoint me greatly – again – and I forgave. Then a mini – disaster hit. I was feeling “oppressed”. I prayed, and I found lots of wisdom and encouragement in the words of this bloggy community. And people prayed for me – thank you by the way – and though the trial is ongoing I don’t feel so “oppressed” anymore.

“Oppressed” stinks.

Feel free to replace “stinks” with a more colorful adjective if you’d like.

It’s been since Friday that we last left our ongoing study of the Book of James.

And there was a two part story I wrote about a poor first century baker who was raised up. then smushed back down, by a someone kowtowing to gain the favor of a rich person. (here and here)

I told the story in two posts – James did it in two sentences.

And now James is asking the people why.

Why do you trip over yourself just to placate people who don’t care for you?

In James 2:6 he writes, “Are not the rich oppressing you?”

And there’s that word – “oppress”.

It’s the same exact word that Peter used above, in describing what demons do. These are the only two uses of this word in the New Testament. Peter and James knew each other well. I suspect they meant the same thing with this word.

James apparently thought it was kind of silly to placate people who “oppress” us – even if they can be useful.

So today I wonder, is there someone I need to walk away from? Forgive them of course – but walk away?

What about you?

Is there anyone who is “useful” to you but whose oppression is not worth the price of what you can gain from them?

James was a smart guy, and practical, and full of the Spirit. Oppression is rotten. If I can get out from under its weight – and do so in love – I think James advises to do it. I trust his advice. And today I’m following it. Any one want to join in?

God bless

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Rose April 7, 2011 at 8:04 am

Thought provoking words. There’s a lot of truth here but sometimes it’s so hard to break away from oppressive situations. Thank you for sharing this.


Craig April 7, 2011 at 10:35 am

Oh how I understand that oppression is hard – and sometimes impossible to break free from Rose. I totally get it. There have been times that I just had to sit and take it – well – because there was no other way. James’ answer t that would be “joy” in trial. It was my 4th post. And what I learned from James changed so much of my thinking (it’s here I just want you to know I get it – I really do. Thank you for reading. thank you. and God Bless and keep you Rose.


Leisa Hammett April 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm

As Flip Wilson used to say: “The devil made me do it.” (Hi, Craig. Nice profile pic. Guess you found out what a flaming Liberal I am.) 😉


Leisa Hammett April 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm

…and I guess some would say I AM going to flame! :-)


Craig April 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm

First – nice try – but you aren’t old enough to remember Flip Wilson. Second, Liberal – conservative – it doesn’t matter to me. Your heart matters – and your heart is huge – I heart your heart – I suspect we don’t have the same theology – but you are a gem still the same. A gem. God Bless Leisa – and thank you for coming by. I like keeping in touch with you.

Have I mentioned how much I appreciate your heart yet? (◠‿◠)


laura April 7, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Hi, Craig! First, I must say–these images…yikes! But isn’t that how it is? In the Bible, what is the first thing those angels always say to the puny human? “Be not afraid”. They must be pretty scary. Or awe-inspiring. Daniel fell down and became “like a dead man”. That always fascinates me. I wonder how we ever imagined a cherubic-faced baby with wings? This is interesting to ponder, Craig, and I thank you for opening up this train of thought to me.

Nice to visit tonight :). I’m behind on my return calls, but I just wanted to say how much your comment at my place delighted me. Blessings to you, my friend.


Craig April 8, 2011 at 9:57 am

Amen Laura, “what is the first thing those angels always say to the puny human? “Be not afraid”. Not little chubby babies at all. And swords – not harps. And tons more of them than demons – and better armed – and on our side. Thank you for reading Laura. Blessings to you too.


Debbie April 8, 2011 at 2:34 am

Thank you so much Craig. so much. I have had to deal with oppression a lot. So hard because no one around me understood about it, and I didn’t either for quite awhile. The hopelessness that sweeps in and the constant feeling that I was bad, I was wrong . . .I remember that. I remember wanting to die, it was so bad, and this was when I knew Jesus. It wasn’t someone that I felt I could walk away from. So I didn’t. I did begin saying constantly, “I reject this oppression in Jesus name.” I stood up to it in that way. It has gotten much better. God is so faithful and good to me.
The fierce angel pictures . . .my friend has a son (somewhat like my daughter) who is afraid a lot, doesn’t sleep in his room, etc. So that’s what she got to put in his room, to remind him that Jesus and angels watch over him. :) And they aren’t wimpy!
God bless you, Craig. This post really blessed me. So glad you understand.


Craig April 8, 2011 at 9:59 am

That’s the thing with oppressors – they keep their power by making the oppressed feel powerless. I’ve been there too Deb. Demons are whisperers and trouble makers – Angels are creatures of action and power!! Thank you Deb. God bless you too.


Michelle April 8, 2011 at 6:53 am

“So today I wonder, is there someone I need to walk away from? Forgive them of course – but walk away?”

Sometimes that’s what you’ve gotta do. Forgiveness doesn’t mean continuing to allow the situation to go on. And walking away – maybe removing yourself from their presence, but continuing to pray for them, and yourself. Asking God what He wants to teach/reveal/grow in you.

But you (probably) know all this already.


Craig April 8, 2011 at 10:01 am

Well Michelle – know it or not I’ve been battling with that decision myself – knowing and doing are two different things. No? God bless you. and thank you as always.


A. April 8, 2011 at 11:49 am

Per the same statement that Michelle quoted: this is a very difficult thing, Craig. I struggle with this now, myself, trying to discern how to sort this out per persons. When persons are family, it compounds the situation enormously. Maybe it wouldn’t to persons of more wisdom, but it does for me. Also very painful when others walk away from you for not following their religious rules. All this walking away from can become painful, confusing, at times-even debilitating.

Also really was struck by this one, and love it: “I’m not looking for inter-Christian debate anymore. I used to. I’ve decided that I just need to be a “living sacrifice” and not be all theoretical and debate-y.” I have worn myself out-and likely others-with the intensity of my questions and my searching. No more.


Craig April 8, 2011 at 2:03 pm

A, you are so right, “walking away” is hard – sometimes way more than hard. You know how I feel about the religion thing. But A. don’t stop asking questions – just hang with people who like answering questions (◠‿◠) God Bless.


Debra April 8, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Oppression indeed comes from the enemy of our souls. There’s this certain feeling – and thank God it doesn’t happen often – that causes the heart to sink down deep. It comes to me when someone, a conduit of the enemy, attacks my spirit verbally. And often, these channels of the adversary don’t even realize they’re being used. But it’s real alright. It feels like a heavy stone has entered the heart, weighing it down.
I simply turn away from vessels of oppression.


Craig April 9, 2011 at 9:15 am

“And often, these channels of the adversary don’t even realize they’re being used.” I think that’s why sometimes forgiving is easier – we are all to be judged on the amount of light we have been given. But whether they mean it or not – words and actions designed to tear down and erode – eventually do their job – like water to soil. I have prayed for your situation – not knowing the details – thank you for giving me something to pray for. God Bless you today!!


A. April 11, 2011 at 9:13 am

Debra, I could only say amen to everything you have written. And when the heavy weight lasts days and weeks and months and even several years because we are in these people’s lives, sunshine begins to appear less and less frequently. When these people-who view themselves as having the truth-are woven into the fabric of our lives, it is difficult to get away. One has to face the constant oppression-spoken or represented, and I am still searching for the best answers for that challenge.

“But whether they mean it or not – words and actions designed to tear down and erode – eventually do their job – like water to soil”. Yes, Craig, that is exactly what happens.


Lanae May 27, 2011 at 1:08 am

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Liston July 15, 2011 at 11:19 pm

I’m just curious at, how come you have a picture of me? and my shields not really that thick looking. And i don’t have a mask! I’m not afraid to show my true-self! O:) at least you got the right number of wings O:) see you when i see you.


Craig July 16, 2011 at 9:57 am

First, it isn’t a picture – it’s more of an artist representation (◠‿◠). second, the Shield does seem a bit thick. Third, and that is a lot of wings. Fourth, I didn’t notice the mask until you mentioned it. Fifth, thank you for dropping by!


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