A Challenge Reconsidered
In November the writers and artists group I am engaged in is raising awareness of abuse and slavery. The team is called chain breakers and they will be challenging people to pray and focus on scriptures that enhance the dignity of people. I was not going to engage in it. After all, these daily challenges start well and then, well, they become challenging. I thought I would take a break and sit this one out. What good will it do anyway? Yes, that was my initial thought.
And then my eyes started seeing and my ears started hearing….differently. I began to notice the abuses that are all around me, many of which we are unaware. A couple of things happened. This started me thinking about my own abusive ways. I traced them back as far as I could and instead of justifying them, I was at a loss for words. I thought of the obvious abusive relationships I know that were, or still exist. I thought of the billows of circumstances I am encompassed in that have repercussions I am trying to resolve. Some of it is a result of an abuse of responsibility on my part.
Abuse is global. It is in the heart of every man, it is manifested in ways many fail to recognize until it is too late. It is scoffed at, excused, justified and unknowingly encouraged. It slips into every relationship, spreads through every family, seeps into community, extends to every venue and disburses itself throughout every open crevice. It is more permeable than air. At least air can be suffocated. Abuse is self-perpetuating. It is unstoppable. What effect is my prayer and a few others’ going to accomplish?
I Start Feeling Old Before I Am
I looked on every shelf. All I saw were chocolate bars. And Skittles, and resees. There were no licorice bars, no good and plenty, no gumdrops, no jelly beans. I looked at the man behind the counter, expressing my concern. He said,
“You mean our candy?” Yes, he was about my age. I fumed.
“Everything is disappearing, and we can do nothing about it!”
I grabbed my coffee and walked out the door in a somewhat pronounced manner. I’m sure he wondered about me after I was gone. It wasn’t my usual demeanor. I felt like what I grew up with, what was important to my tastes were being denied me. I felt abused. I felt “old and no longer significant.” Seems silly, doesn’t? Candy?
“God, You Know I Can’t Swim”!
I’m drowning. The past few days distressing news on all sides have been rising up around me and I can’t feel the bottom. I am not a swimmer, so to feel nothing under me keeping me is a scary feeling. So what did I do? I sat down, got still, and narrowed my focus on who I am and what am I supposed to be doing this moment…and I took deep breaths.
When your world is spinning out of control, focus on the truth in front of you. If you don’t, you will end up a part of the whirlwind.
Things are changing. They are always changing, but more and more I feel like we are being pushed aside. Is this the way every generation feels sooner or later? Why is this upsetting me more lately?
I heard something in the media. We hear many things all the time, but for some reason, I imploded on the inside. I saw the abuse of words, the manipulation to put one in a position to apologize for an honest dialogue. I get it. I know the position one is put in. No apology, no career! Yes, it’s not the first time it has happened. For me, I think God was opening my eyes wider.
Maybe my rant and disquiet for what I see are telling me I need to take a stand, even in a small way. The candy was just a very small observation that triggered my thoughts (I know these things are still being made, not just where I was at the time). I think the main reason for my upset is the growing extinction of pure hearts and pure motives being misinterpreted by a society of people who twist words to manipulate others into their system of thinking.
“Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” (Titus 1:15 NIV)
When we will not accept the opinions of others and assume one is being discriminatory and degrading without even a discussion of opinions, we, ourselves, are indeed intolerable and biased, the very same as what we say we are fighting against. I feel there is an underground tsunami developing and we are going to be swept up into the middle of it so fast if we don’t start taking the scriptures seriously.
A chain is one link, added to another link, added to another. There are paper chains, rope chains, and metal chains. There are chains of thoughts and chains of addiction. The common tag is the chain smoker. Every habit continued adds another link to a chain. Chains are designed to hold and secure something in place. The more links, the more secure.
I don’t believe there is any excuse ever for any kind of abuse! I do believe there are reasons, some going back so deep and so far you can’t reach them and in yourself, you can’t break them. A reason for something doesn’t mean it is right. It means it is explainable. I don’t want to be a scapegoat for anyone anymore. I don’t want to take the fall because you won’t take responsibility. I understand grace and covering people, but when I continue to allow myself to become a link in someone else’s chain, aren’t I abusing myself? This is the worst kind of abuse.
When words have weight but don’t weigh you down.
Jesus’ words were direct. They didn’t toy with people’s emotions or leave them questioning His motives. He challenged them but didn’t put guilt upon them. He revealed their hearts with conviction and an expectation of hope and redemption. He confronted them with love and words that could free, but only if they chose to be free. People have a choice.
A seed was planted in the form of a question in the Garden of Eden. The serpent asked Eve,
“…Hath God said…” (Gen 3:1 KJV)
He put doubt in her mind. All of a sudden there was room to question God. Six thousand years later, we are still questioning God. That seed sprouted, and like a dandelion continues to spread. There has been so many twisted words that we don’t discern what is pure any more. We must return to asking and listening to the Spirit of Christ. We have lost trust in words and in people’s motives because of a chain of abuse.
A chain has to be broken one link at a time. Jesus’ death and resurrection broke the chain of sin for all people which gave us access to God and eternal life. But we still have sins and in our earthly state, need to be free of the chains, one link at a time.
We are all abusive in so many different ways. My challenge to myself is to pray I will be open and receptive to recognizing my own abusive ways and those of others towards me.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that he may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16 KJV)
Will I take on the challenge in November? After considering these things, yes I will. If even one chain is broken by my prayer, how much more with others?
For this cause the color is yellow, so if you think of it, wear or create something yellow and pray the light of Christ shines His truth for all who are abused and abusive.
I have added a link to check out if you are interested in knowing more.