Harry S. Truman, 33rd president of the United States, made a fascinating observation when debating whether or not to prioritize the Zionist agenda in Palestine. “All underdogs,” he said, “when they get on top they are just as intolerant and as cruel as the people were to them when they were underneath.”
Do you think that’s true?
It might bring up the question: Who are the good guys?
You may be excited about the cause of a particular under-represented, marginalized group. Although it might come nowhere close to the horror thrust upon Jews at the hands of the Nazi’s, your impulse of justice has you voting, voicing, and acting on behalf of their promotion. But could that very group be the next oppressors? If so, how does that work? How can we predict who will oppress and who will be oppressed?
Some have said: God has a preference for the poor. If he does, then what happens when a poor woman surmounts her poverty, does God not prefer her anymore? Does God love the middle class a little less than the poor but a little more than the upper class?
In the Bible, though, something is definitely going on with stories and verses about the overlooked, the downtrodden, and the poor. The God you are shown through such lives is a God who loves to shine through overlooked people: a childless woman becoming the mother of a prophet, a gentile widow receiving special provision by the Jewish God, a Jewish woman ascending to power in the royal palace of a gentile king. This is a God who loves to jostle the scales until they’re less unbalanced and give hope to people who live under the harsh whips of slaveholders. If God has anything to do with it, justice is going to be afoot in subversive and ironic ways.
It seems everyone is invited to hope for it, join in it, and keep our eyes open for where it will happen next.