Tan: Facing the Evils of Oppression with a Quiet Heart

Ecclesiates 4:1-16

AT FIRST glance, a quiet heart and the evils of oppression are opposites. How can you be quiet when you see real evils plaguing our society? Having a Quiet Heart is not being indifferent or numb to the reality of daily evils around us . . . it means engaging evil in a godly way, making sure that the target is locked in before squeezing the trigger and like a surgeon, taking time to calmly assess before making a deep cut with the scalpel.

A Quiet Heart is not in a hurry to solve all evil but listens to God for divine opportunities that will connect with our God-stirred desires to make a difference in making it a concrete project, and in so doing, extend God's hand and hope to this helpless world. As the song says "we can know the Master's plan, extend the Master's hand, when we call upon His name"

Here are some thoughts on how we can face the Evils of oppression with a Quiet Heart

With A Quiet Heart, take time to calmly reflect rather than impulsively react.

Impulsive reactions, in many instances, create more damage than solutions. While King Solomon, himself, saw the corruption happening in his watch, I ask myself . . . “why did he choose to do something drastic, a kind of a shock-and-awe response . . . after all, he had the power and absolute authority to execute it.” Then it dawned on me, Solomon did not give a "shock-and-awe" response because he was wise! Like a weed, he grabbed the problem by the roots instead of just eliminating the leaves and branches. A quick solution would make the headlines but will not make a heart line transformation. His reflection led him to see the powerlessness of the king's might to change the heart of man. Only the fear of God in man's heart could produce such change. His God given wisdom dictated that solo crusades are not only bound to fail it spoke more of arrogance rather than faith in God. Reflections like these can only be nourished if you have a quiet heart. How many actions have we taken which created more havoc rather than solutions . . . only because we were impatient to assess our options with a quiet heart.

With A Quiet Heart, take time to internalize some applications rather than actualize attacks on a general level.

Every news headline stirs appetite, not only to give opinions but also fire careless shots of criticism. Granting that the targets of the attack deserve it, we fall short of applying wisdom if we do not internalize some applications. I find it helpful to reflect whenever a scandal hits the headlines or is rumored in the community, to pause and in my heart, whisper that the person involved could have been me. It is by grace and restraint of the Holy Spirit that you and I are prevented from committing the evil we thought we could never have the nerve to do. We are missing a lot if we don't have a quiet heart to reflect.

With a Quiet Heart, calmly discover the do-ables, rather than debate and defeat your critics.

A young girl was trying to throw a dying star fish from the shore back to the sea. A fisherman nearby asked the girl with sarcasm "Can you throw all these thousands of dying starfish back to the sea?" The girl politely replied "not all, but the one I threw surely survived, not all sir, I’m taking my chances by throwing one starfish at a time." Wise answer, little girl! With that thought, let us prayerfully ask God to help us do the do-ables.

Here are 5 Evils of Oppression in their obvious and subtle forms.

1. The Oppression of the poor by the powerful (vv. 1-3)

2. The Oppression of the powerful by their addiction to power (vv. 2) "they have no one to comfort them"

3. The Rivalry between neighbors (vv 4-6) Because of greed, Workaholism, and jealousy

4. The Lonely Life of the Abundant (8-12)

No one to share one’s abundance with; nothing inspirational; no one to bequeath to all that we have worked so hard for.

5. The Folly of a Self-righteous king. (13-16)
No one is infallible, indispensable, or irreplaceable

Conclusion and Applications of the do-ables

> Be a gracist for the marginalized. A voice for the voiceless.
> Daily actualize a powerless life.
> Confront entitlement in the heart before it becomes a lifestyle.
> Know your place. Discern your timing.
> Remember to serve, remember to serve well.
> Deal hard with your manipulative tendencies
> Do not be threatened by the success of others. Do not threaten others by acting superior.
> Place yourself on the same level as others or go lower.
> Rejoice with those who rejoice.
> If possible, live at peace with all men especially your neighbors.
> Be grateful to God for faith, family and friends.
> Respect others, relate more.
> Release much.
> Rest at least one day in a week.

Hopefully, after hearing this discourse, we now appreciate the blessings of a Quiet Heart...Prayerfully and intentionally take time to be quiet in heart. In other words be a blessing, look for a starfish within your reach and throw it back to the sea. Believe me, I know nothing more potent to diminish the effects of the evils of oppression than this. Be a blessing, pay it forward and chill. I write from a hurting heart seeing the oppressions of evil around and within, but I opt to be quiet at heart so I can react in a godly way. Thanks for reading.
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