Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sojourner Truth

One of the ways our faith is emboldened is through reading about how other Christians who came before us stood strong in their faith.

One of those people is Sojourner Truth, a woman born into slavery in 1797 in New York who went on to be one of the first, if not the first, black women in America to ever win a court case (when she sued to win her son back from slavery).

One has to read her story to fully appreciate the hardship and terror she experienced as a slave and an abolitionist. Yet her Christian faith in God never wavered, even in the face of personal ridicule such as the time a white man said to her that her anti-slavery speeches wouldn’t do any good and that “I don’t care any more for your talk than I do for the bite of a flea.” Sojourner’s response was to laugh and say, “Lord willing I’ll keep you scratchin.’” Such was her focus on God and His grace that she was able to turn the other cheek and not answer reviling with reviling.

Sojourner visited personally with President Abraham Lincoln, which her biography describes like this: “He showed her around his office, pointing out a Bible a group of Baltimore blacks had presented to him. She held it in her hands and traced the big gold letters—THE BIBLE—with her finger. Although she couldn’t read it, she knew the words in it by heart.”

Sojourner’s biographers show how she lived her life to counter those who misused the Bible to support their own agendas. She relentlessly pressed forward “to do battle using God’s own truth.” Though she suffered unimaginable physical and mental abuse and horrific separation from family members sold away from her in slavery, she came to know Jesus Christ and let Him sustain her and guide her words and actions. If ever there is victorious Christian living, it can be seen in Sojourner Truth.

“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:1-2

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