Slavery is perhaps the most common problem on the planet. There has been to my knowledge no time in human history in which at least one person has not been enslaved. (Except perhaps before the fall) This makes slavery the longest running problem we have yet to solve.
To truly do a discussion of slavery justice we need to define our terms. There are actually in just about every culture two types of slavery. Its important to distinguish between these two things because many of us may be fine with and even have experienced one form of slavery. While the other form has much worse implications.
Indentured servitude is the most accepted form of slavery, and many of us have experienced it at some point in our lives. The basic idea is that you are a slave in order to pay off a debt. This has looked different in different cultures but the most relatable version would have to be what happens to middle class children!
No! you did not read that wrong. Middle class children and teens are the largest segment of our american population that deal with this form of slavery. You in fact probably experienced a form of it when you were young.
Take yourself back to the young headstrong child you once were and think about that time we all had when we (or more likely our sibling who pinned it on us) got into trouble. Specifically remember when you broke something or destroyed property. If you had a family like mine you were marched over to whoever owned said destroyed property and told that you had to pay them back for there “stupid whatever” that you broke that shouldn’t have even been there in the first place.
Now as a child or teen, again if you were like me, you didn’t have a whole lot of money. What this led to then was the next four weekends of your life mowing grass, doing dishes, and washing clothes all for no pay until finally you have worked off your debt to old lady “what’s her name”. That in a nutshell is indentured servitude.
Oppressive servitude is the type of slavery however that most often keeps us up at night. It is an inhuman act of betrayal and violence that has been practiced for almost all of time. It is the taking of another person or people from there life, at no fault of there own and forcing them to work in terrible conditions, until they are no longer of use.
This type of slavery has taken many forms from sexual slavery of young girls, to the enslavement of africans as cheep labor. Each of these is despicable and causes a deep yearning in my soul to seek out and to save those who find themselves captured.
It is in this mindset of yearning that we should consider our spiritual lives and the role Christ plays in this world.
See the Bible makes clear that we enter into this world enslaved to sin. (John 8:33) Make no mistake if you are reading this you were enslaved to sin. (Rom 6:5-7) This means that by the very nature of slavery we are oppressed by sin and we do many things at the call of our “dark master” of which we should be ashamed.
Its at this understandable point that we start to compare ourselves to the above descriptions, and because we all think of ourselves as generally good and decent people who have never murdered, cheated, or stolen we put ourselves into the category of the oppressed servitude. In delusion we consider ourselves simply victims of chance.
How could sin have done this to us? Dragged us out of our comfort and contentment and enslaved us!
However, look again at the descriptions that were given, and search your heart for the truth. None of us were dragged kicking and screaming into slavery. Sure we were born bad, but we were created for righteousness. It is in an examination of the evidence that we are forced to admit, we are not oppressed but simply indebted to our “dark master”.
See we all committed acts that have run up our account. We owe more than we could ever pay and because of that debt we were turned over from birth to our “dark master”. We are then starting in a world trying to work off a debt that can never be payed only increased.
It is in this reality that we see the true beauty of God. Who did not rescue us from random chance. Who did not rescue us from an enemy force. We see the beauty of a God who rescued us from a debt of our own creation. Who rescued us from our own pride and self worth and asks nothing of us in return except to trust in Him.
Make no mistake you are enslaved….but you do not have to be.