"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
Here the Lord shows His compassionate heart towards the poor, and says to us if we have the same heart towards them He will regard it as the fast that He has chosen. However this is not just to be words, but must be shown in sincere action. It begins with sharing with what we have ourselves, which involves a definite degree of personal unselfishness. But the Lord’s observation of the attitudes of our hearts goes deeper than that:
Often we help people at our own economic level or higher, because we think, mostly subconsciously, that later when we are battling, they will help us back. It can be a kind of insurance policy for a rainy day. But when we share what we have with the very poor, we know that they cannot pay us back, and this is the unselfish heart that the Lord loves. It emulates the love of His Son, and conforms to the new commandment he gave us in John 13: 34, “…that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you are to love one another.”
If selfishness and pride compose the root cause of all the consequences and suffering from sin in the world, then surely the antidote is found in the humility and unselfishness of Christ, expressed by His people on earth. This is the heart attitude in God’s people that He will use to break the yokes of oppression and injustice.