I recently read a biography of Desmond Tutu simply called “Tutu” – a read I highly recommend. This book was full of insights into an amazing human being. I’ll most likely be drawing from the wisdom I gleaned for years to come, but there is one piece of wisdom in particular I’d like to share with you today; it is a quote that Tutu often referred to when speaking with those suffering under the oppression of apartheid and a quote he would speak to those who were the perpetrators of apartheid:
“God is always on the side of the oppressed, not because they are inherently better than the oppressor, but rather simply because they are oppressed.”
Tutu linked this statement with a very deep motivating understanding and that is, to be created in the image of God – which is to be human – is the very cornerstone of our dignity. That anything that oppresses that dignity – humanity – God by God’s very nature moves to liberate those who are being dehumanised, devalued or degraded.
Imagine a God that is not concerned with who is right or who is wrong in situations. But rather a God who wants freedom and liberty. Who wants anything that pulls away from our inherent beauty to be stopped immediately!
This has implications on the macro-societal level with structures that oppress all the way down to the intimately personal, to our inner most thoughts that might oppress. God wants our freedom. God wants to reveal the beauty of humanity. This quote also causes me to pause and ask the question, “Where have I decided that I am right, and in my being right I become willing to degrade anyone else in any regard?” Of this I know I am guilty whenever I am dismissive of someone, God is immediately on their side, not because they are better than me, but because in some way I am degrading that person. Now for the brain twist, see if you can wrap your head around this one:
Whenever I am harsh, unforgiving, oppressive or judgmental toward myself, God is immediately on my side. There is such rest in the beautiful knowing that all God wants is our salvation, restoration, redemption and renewal to that which we were always intended to be, fully created in the image of God – HUMAN.
I hope you can feel this one. It comes from a place deeper than most knowings.