Stop putting your chains back on

In church we were singing that song that says,

“There is power in the name of Jesus (x3),

to break every chain,

break every chain,

break every chaaaaaiiiiin…”

And I thought of my dear friend with mental disease who I talked with last night. She said, I’m desperate. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I feel like life is ending. I just don’t…” and she faded off in hopelessness. It’s been off and on like this for years. Hard like this for years and years.

God, is it true what we’re singing?! Why have you not broken off her chains? We’ve prayed hard for her lots of times, and although sometimes there are brief moments of relief, soon enough she finds herself bound up and desperate again.

But then I thought about that homeless guy who told me God had set him free four times in his life and cleaned out all his dirt and addiction. But each time when he went back out into the world it filled him right back up.

And then in church we read in Jeremiah where God tells the people to repent because they just keep on doing their own thing and filling up their lives with muck.

And some new words started to come to me. Not that I’m sure they were God’s or anything. But maybe.

“I am the type to break every chain. But you are the type that keep putting them back on.”

And I thought about it. I have certain chains I choose to keep putting on. Things that are probably holding me back. And my friend probably has certain damaging mindsets or beliefs that she holds onto too. And our culture pours it into us from all sides as well. But we, both you and me, and every one of our friends, are part of this culture.

And although I can’t take the blame for all that my culture is doing, I don’t think it’s God’s fault. I’m guessing that if I were really committed and believing with 100% of my heart I would recognize the popular mindsets I hold onto that let us out of the responsibility to turn away from our sins. We may not know the path to change the thinking that holds us down. But we’re not trying very hard to escape.

Maybe because it’s so nice just to keep doing our thing.

I don’t know where the line is drawn between what I can help and what only God can help. But I think I probably need to listen when that little pang of conviction taps me and take responsibility for a lot more of my pain.

Raw Spoon, 9-20-16