Ellis: When People Lack a Basic Commitment to God, Unrighteousness Follows

“When people lack a basic commitment to God, unrighteousness follows. Scripture describes at least two types of unrighteousness: ungodliness and oppression. Ungodliness happens when people rebel against God and his revelation. Disregarding their responsibility toward God and others, they themselves suffer the consequences of their wrongdoing. Oppression occurs when people impose their ungodliness on others, causing them to suffer the consequences. For example, if a person has a racist attitude, he or she is guilty of ungodliness. If, however, that person imposes his racism on others, forcing them to live in substandard conditions, then he is guilty of oppression.

Unrighteousness is seldom exclusively one or the other; it is usually a combination of both. Oppressors are people whose unrighteousness is primarily, but not exclusively, oppression. The unrighteousness of oppressed people is primarily, but not exclusively, ungodliness.”

-Carl F. Ellis Jr., Free At Last: The Gospel in the African American Experience, 28.

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