Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Bible and slavery

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Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  How is everyone doing?  I pray that everyone find this blog in good health and spirits.  I am now in York, PA waiting on a load.  I picked up a new student on Friday in Allentown, PA.  I am hoping that I get some real good runs in before I go home on the 13th.  I feel that I will.  Werner has put me on a Harley Davidson account and it looks like all of the runs are time sensitive and long. 
I have been approached many time about God condoning slavery.  In the old mosaic laws God lays out rules concerning the treatment of slaves and yet, no where in the Bible does it outright forbid slavery.  Does this mean that God condoned slavery?
First of all we need to look at the different types of slavery.  One type is voluntary or status slavery.  There are people who put themselves into slavery so that there needs are taken care of.  This was deliberately done in the old testament  and today it is still done without people even realizing that they are doing it.  If you depend solely on a person or an organization to meet all of your needs (unless it is family member) then you are a slave.  Lots of people are slaves to the government or employer.  This type of slavery was not condoned by God but God did set guide lines for those that wanted to practice this anyway. 
Another form of slavery was if one got into debt and couldn't pay it off.  God is against people going into debt and against those that forces a person to become a slave.  So, both the person in debt and the slave owner is breaking Gods law here.  Throughout the Bible God talks about love and forgiveness.  We are supposed to love one another and forgive them.  But we are also not supposed to get ourselves into any situation that causes us to be a slave to another man.  It also isn't loving to borrow anything when we can't pay it back.  If we don't have the money to buy something then we are not supposed to get it unless it is given to us.
Another form of slavery is wrong wrong wrong.  It is wrong to enslave anyone against there will and the Bible does say it in Exodus 21:16 and in 1 Timothy 8-10.  Look at where people who enslave others are placed with in 1 Timothy.  Surely those that criticize the Bible must have seen that.
In any case, God never condoned slavery of any type.  Not even people putting themselves into slavery to have there needs met.  God doesn't want any person to be ruled by another person.  God is so much against this that He didn't even want His people to be ruled by a King or a human government (1 Samuel 8).  God knows that no human can be a good ruler or master over another human.  Throughout the Bible it talks about love.  Is it loving to own another person?  When you look up the definition of Love in the Bible, does it go along with slavery?  No.  So why did God allow for some forms of slavery when He didn't condone it?  Well, that goes along with why divorce is in the Mosaic Law when God was against divorce (Matt 19: 3-9).  God set these rules because of our hard hearts.  He worked with us just as He did with having a king.  He said that if you want to be a slave and trust your needs to be met by another human, then go ahead but here are the rules I want you to follow.  If you want to have a slave that is willing to be a slave then go ahead, but follow these rules. 
Today, we do still have slavery.  Both involuntary and voluntary.  When people are made slaves against there will, that is unacceptable in every way and should never be condoned.  God never has condoned this as I have explained above.  Today people also still put themselves into slavery.  If you are in debt, you are a slave to your creditor.  I have seen this form of slavery destroy families.  Most divorces occur because of money issues.  I have seen children neglected because both parents have to work long hours.  I have seen couples forget how blessed they are to have one another because they are both working long hours and never get to enjoy each other.  And where is all the money going?  To pay off creditors.  You are working for your creditors.  You are a slave.  If you depend on the government to meet all your needs then you are a slave.  You have to report everything to the federal government  and you have to meet certain requirement set by the government.  If the federal government no longer can afford you then where do you go?  Also, if the federal government changes it's policy or adds a new rule then you have no choice but to comply.  You are at the mercy of the government.
God doesn't like any of these types of slavery.  But something to remember is that God isn't out to change society.  That isn't what God is after at all.  God also isn't out to force anyone to do anything.  Many people thing that God is out to change things from the outside in.  Actually, God wants to change things from the inside out.  He wants to start with you.  As you open your eyes and see just how much God loves you and how much He has done for you then you will change.  Your love for others will grow and it will start to reflect.  Now, instead of having a person who owes you money be your slave, you will forgive them.  If someone says they will be your slave if you will meet there needs you will help them without them owing you a thing.  God's love in you flows to others and they see it.  It grows in them and they start showing God's love and acting on it.  Then it flows from them to others and so on.  See, it isn't about what others do but what you do.  Yes, God does work with our hard hearts, but he wants us to act on His love so that we can show a dark world just how much a candle can shine with His Spirit in us.  Take care and God Bless.
The Oklahoma Tomcat
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