Abolitionists, those who fought to end slavery, were mainly Christians. Why were Christians, who read in the Bible about God’s laws allowing slavery, the ones who were fighting against it?
Do you know these lyrics to the Christmas Hymn, O Holy Night?
Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is Love and His gospel is Peace; Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother, And in his name all oppression shall cease, Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we; Let all within us praise his Holy name!
Jesus gives us a law that covers all these laws we’ll be reading in the Old Testament. He tells us that all the law can be summed up with these two commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
All Old Testament laws come down to loving God and loving others.
Jesus and Paul didn’t try to fight the system. They didn’t speak out and protest. They taught love. Paul encourages a slave owner to receive his slave as a brother in Christ in the book of Philemon.
Slaves are told to serve their masters as if working for the Lord. God promises to see and reward them.
Slave owners are told not to threaten their slaves and are reminded that God has no favorites. God is the master of the slave owner, and God doesn’t see the slave master as greater than the slave.
God changes things from the inside out. He changes hearts, that change minds, that change attitudes, that change lifestyles, that change communities, that change cities, that change countries, that change the world.