Hey Candace and @jromelus2014! I apologize for taking the day to respond. I usually try to be “on it”. The day just got in the way. So, again sorry for the delay. I’ll try to be as concise as possible. Here goes…
Right, so regarding your ask, I’m definitely for clarity of terms. For sure! So to distinguish between “oppression” and “entitlement”, I would begin by defining the two:
Oppression is the act or state of being in which a person or persons are burdened or subjected to cruel or callous physical emotional, mental, social, spiritual etc. impositions or restrainsts that, as a result, affect the person(s) physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, spiritually, etc. That’s a pretty basic, “clinical” understanding of oppression. I also got out the old concordance to see if the Greek or Hebrew would say something more nuanced or robust. Nope! Essentially the Greek rendering of [the] oppressed (especially but not exclusively from Luke 4:18) is to crush, break, shatter; to bruise or break down. Between this and the other more “official” definition, there is definitely a correlation between the two.
Entitlement, to my understanding, is essentially having or feeling like you automatically deserve or have the right to something. It is owed and expected. It is usually devoid of gratitude and appreciation. It also, many times, goes hand in hand with privilege.
So, yeah…do you see the difference? I hope that helps to distinguish the two.
With regard to what social justice is – specifically and especially for the follower of Jesus Christ – it’s simply defined by the application of biblical values, corporately.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but
to do justice, and
to love kindness, and
to walk humbly with your God?”
“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
And the most revolutionary of all, of which all the rest are encapsulated…
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I (Jesus) have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
What’s interesting in that last passage is THAT is what Jesus gives to His disciples as the tell tale sign to the world of our discipleship and relationship to Him: how and that they/we love others. (v.35)
But I digress…all scriptures I referenced give description to what social justice is…at it’s core and in essence. Beyond – but absolutely not to the exclusion of – things like healthcare, wellbeing, justice, opportunity, etc…we achieve (even the possibility of) it by seeing all humanity as image bearers (Gen.1:27); ALL with inherent worth, value and sanctity. Again…THAT is social justice.
Lastly, regarding your ask, Candace:
…I’m sure you and I both know individuals - perhaps even ourselves, at one point - who were/are absolutely contented living in sin (spiritual oppression). They would rarely claim themselves to be oppressed…in fact, quite the opposite. However, despite this, they ARE bound to sin. (John 8:34, Acts 8:23, Romans 6:6, 16, 19; 7:14, 2 Peter 2:19)
However, let’s take it out of the spiritual and perhaps a more practical example. Take those who take part in habitual, deliberate risky behaviors and lifestyles. Many wouldn’t claim that they are greatly burdening their bodies or minds and inflicting cruel impositions on themselves. Yet…they are…whether they know or believe it, themselves.
So again…I hope that helps to clarify whatever was a bit muddied.