Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.
Ecc 7:7 (KJV)
I had never considered this scripture before but it is filled with understanding. Trust me, I will probably be meditating on this for a long time. Not to excuse crazy behavior, but because I never realized the depths to which oppression can drive a person.
Extortion is a special type of oppression, but in some versions of the bible, the Hebrew word simply rendered Oppression. To be clear, oppression is being unjustly treated or controlled, especially over a length of time. This may send anyone over the edge. God made the human psyche to have free will and not be controlled. When a person is controlled in everything they do or not allowed to exercise their abilities or gifts, it can make them act out of normal character. It can cause them to break ranks from the norm.
I believe God wants us to have the understanding for people that have been oppressed. To expect a group of people or a person to stay under oppressive systems or a person to continue to stay in an oppressive situation is unreasonable. When God sends us through trials and difficulties, he never allows this just as an exercise in cruelty. On the spiritual side, it is a controlled situation. God will get us out of it when He’s ready.
God realizes that persecutions, tyranny, confinement is a punishment that’s against our natural creation. He does not mean for us to stay oppressed. Even the wisest and humblest person can be affected.
The second part of this scripture says that “a gift destroyeth the heart”, which is often rendered as “a gift can bribe the heart”. People can change their principles and integrity for money or support. They get bought out because of something they want. As Christians, this is something we should never do. We should keep our beliefs and integrity even if the entire world turns against us, as long as we are leaning on scripture.
The moral of all this: good men can be turned and we have to be careful to not allow ourselves to be moved from a godly path in life.