A ruler who oppresses the poor
is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.
High expectations. Our society has them. I definitely have them, just ask my wife.
What is the result of our high expectations – oppression. High expectations are oppressive as we expect more out of people than they are able to give.1 The result of our high expectations is that we become slave drivers; like a driving rain on a crop. We deprive the poor, or those under us. I’m guilty of high expecations in my family and in my work.
This proverb speaks to all of us, since oppression isn’t just in the obvious forms of oppression that we might see in the actions of a dictator, or totalitarian regimes. Seeds of oppression are in all our actions, no matter how big or small. In all of our interactions in some way we are–to take the image further–all are robbing others of their fruitfulness or cropfulness.
The antidote then, and even business sense has seen this, is to make those around us great. Rather than rob, we give. This doesn’t just mean gifts or handouts, but having the right expectations of those under us. Giving them the space they need, giving them the resources or support to complete tasks we give them. The result of good expectations is that those under us thrive, rather than being left cropless. Right (or better) expectations are good for those around us. But better expectations are good for us as well, lowering anxiety and worry and and freeing us from the overworking tendencies of those high expectations to just working with what you have. The result is that right expectations are good for those under us and good for us as well; oppression not only robs the oppressed, but also the oppressor.
We won’t remove all oppression in this life, but we can work towards reducing it. We need to recognise the oppression in all our actions and repent, constantly. Then the God who is kind to us in Jesus will, by his Spirit, help us to drive away oppression, instead of driving away others. When I am kind and look out for others I enable them to bear the fruit that my oppression would have just stripped away.
- This is not to say that we shouldn’t have high ideals. But ideals need to be brought down into the realm of reality, working with people where they are at. ↩