The Israelites were suffering, and the Egyptians were responsible for their suffering. God took the Israelites’ side because He wanted to liberate them from their suffering. What did God do? God sent nine plagues to Egypt so that Pharaoh would stop inflicting suffering on the Israelites. After every plague, God would ask Pharaoh, “Will you set the people free?” And Pharaoh would always answer, “No way.” Nine plagues passed, and each time Pharaoh refused. On the tenth plague, all the first-born of Egypt were killed, and finally, Pharaoh said, “Go, go, go out.”
That was the turning point.
I invite you to remember the liberation of the Israelites from Egypt and draw your attention to a little detail in the Passover celebration. Even though the Egyptians were the oppressors, even though the Egyptians were the abusive masters of the Israelites, there was a part of the Passover liturgy when a drop of wine was allowed to fall on the plate. This drop of wine was a memorial of all the Egyptians who suffered during the Passover. It was a heartwarming gesture because it was a sign that “even if you have oppressed us, we still remember you. And our hearts can still go out to you.”
We have our own Egyptians. We have our own bondage to some form of slavery. We have people who refuse us our freedom. When we see them suffer, can we suffer with them, or do we fall into the temptation of simply taking pleasure, taking delight in their situation and saying, “Sweet revenge?” The action of a real child of God will be to suffer even for his or her oppressors. If you take pity on your friends, that is normal. If you take note of the sufferings of even your oppressors and ask God to diminish their sufferings, then you are acting like God’s children.
THE SUFFERING OF TORMENTORS