“If you forgive anyone anything, I too forgive that one; and what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sakes in the presence [and with the approval] of Christ (the Messiah), To keep Satan from getting the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his wiles and intentions.” 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 AMPC
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proudor rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT
“After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.”1 Corinthians 3:5-8
African-American slaves wrote many heartfelt songs, often referred to as Negro Spirituals. It is noteworthy that the people who enslaved and and oppressed them are the same people who introduced them to Christianity.
One would think these slaves wouldn’t be open to hearing about Jesus from their oppressor, but Jesus opened their hearts to believe the Good News. That’s the only plausible explanation for it.
The Bible says of Lydia, ” The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” Acts 16:14.
Yes, He can do that, even under the most desperate and cruel circumstances. Just as the Lord opened the heart of Lydia, He opened their hearts as well.
One of my favorite hymns is Give Me Jesus. The words are simple, yet they are deeply moving. I was not surprised to find out it is an African-American spiritual, written by slaves looking to our Lord and Savior for deliverance. Just as He brought deliverance to Israel through the leadership of Moses, they believed He would deliver them from slavery. And He did.
In the morning when I rise, In the morning when I rise, In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, give me Jesus, You may have all this world, Give me Jesus.
I can imagine these desperate Christians singing these words from their heart, looking for deliverance when Jesus comes to take them home. This exemplifies loving God with all your heart and soul, strength, and mind.
When I come to die When I come to die Oh, when I come to die Give me Jesus
Many of the spirituals and songs were birthed out of the trials and struggles of those in slavery. “Give Me Jesus” is an excellent example of how the victims of American slavery were able to express in song God’s presence and care in the midst of heartache and pain.
“Give Me Jesus” is but one of many spirituals written during slavery with no known composer or text writer. “Persons in slavery, deprived and besieged in this life, might have nothing earthly to hold on to. But, if they were Christians, they believed they had an inheritance in God” (Warren, 1997, 37).
The tune GIVE ME JESUS, written by African-American slaves, appears in nineteen hymnal collections and supplements today.
Dear Lord, May we cling to you, seek you, and worship you with the same devotion and love as our brothers and sisters in Christ who cried out to you in their pain and trusted you in the midst of cruelty and injustice. Forgive us for our petty complaints and help us to be thankful for all our many blessings. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
“They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands” … So the wall was completed… When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.” Nehemiah 6:9, 15-16