Read: Exodus 6:6-8, Psalm 107:1, 10-14, Romans 6:6
In The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd shares a story of two girls growing up in early-nineteenth century Charleston - Sarah, a daughter of a wealthy Charleston family, and Handful, her slave. While Sarah's father is the head of the household, her mother plays the role of the master of the slaves. Kidd writes from Sarah's perspective, "It's Mother, however, who descends the back steps into the yard. Binah and the other house slaves are clumped behind her, moving with cautious, synchronized steps as if they're a single creature, a centipede crossing an unprotected space. I sense the shadow that hovers over them in the air, some devouring dread, and I crawl back into the green-black gloom of the tree. "
Sarah grew up knowing that slavery was evil but because she was a white, southern woman with a stammer, she questioned if her voice would ever matter. She spent majority of her life troubled by the ways of the world, not really knowing what she could do to fix it. But one day she wrote a pamphlet to the South, addressing the reasons why slavery should be stopped. When questioned of her voice and motives to end slavery, she had enough courage to say, "Kindly take your feet off our necks."
Sarah was radical for her time. She did end up freeing Handful but it would take years of war for slaves to finally become free men and women. Freedom is not won without a fight.
Even though we live in the twenty-first century, we are all still in the nineteenth century throes of slavery. *There are over 30 million individuals in the world still being forced into labor and sex-trafficking. The rest of us find ourselves in bondage to the false idols that we think will bring us worth.
I'm not sure exactly when the chains of perfectionism were clamped onto my soul, but it's been my ball and chain for far too long. Day in and day out, I work the hard labor obeying Perfectionism's commands to do more, be more, and have more. Then, when I realize that I can't achieve these goals, my inner critic comes alive and words of chastisement become my dialogue.
While following Perfectionism seems like the best way to live, it has left me chasing an ideal that can never quite be met. When I try to release myself from its' alluring pull, the chains keep me from going too far. I find myself bound to my master, begging for deliverance.
Slavery is oppression and we must not live with its' feet on our necks. To live in freedom, we must all begin to break the chains of slavery.
For some, this is literal and for others we must break the figurative chains of slavery. Either way, Jesus has the power to break these chains. Galatians 5:1 tells us, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."
After Moses was called to lead the Israelites out of slavery, Pharoah's slave drivers pressed the Israely slaves even harder. They came to Moses and Aaron, mad at them for boldness. Moses turned to God asked him why he had brought so much trouble on his people. God responded by saying, "Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country."
God told Moses to tell the Israelites this message,
Our oppression does not seem possible to overcome, but the beauty of The Great Story is that we are already free. When Jesus said, "It is finished (John 19:30)" he meant that we are no longer slaves to the sins and cruelties of this world.
So, how do we live in this freedom?
Freedom begins by believing in the power of Jesus. We must be His army, fighting for the freedom of at least one of those 30 million people still in physical bondage today. That’s why Undivided Women is partnering with organizations in the Wiregrass like Love in Action, who are helping women escape the bondage of human trafficking every single day.
Let us remember that Yahweh, "the LORD" is the Redeemer of His people. He can deliver us and break every chain just through the power of His word. When we pray, we are breaking chains. When we pour our guts out to God in prayer and believe that Jesus has already set us free, we live in the freedom of knowing that we are no longer slaves.
Freedom is power. May we be set free.
Walking in freedom begins by breaking chains. That's exactly what we are doing in today's worksheet. Start now, friend.
Join us on Tuesday, January 12th at 6:00 p.m. for our Undivided Women Launch Party at Covenant United Methodist Church. Invite your friends and learn more about this exciting new ministry for our community!