I was raised like a lot of church-going-kids to be obedient to my parents. It seemed like I got a lot of the children-obey-your-parents thing and very little of the command to obey God and not man. Never did I read or hear what author Oswald Chambers cautioned against…that is, playing “amateur providence” in one another’s lives. He says that we are slow to recognize how we are playing God…with our advice, cautions, and this need to have others comply. What I am here to say today, is that I have almost lost my life in countless ways because I was trained to heed the voice of man over the voice of God. My life contains wounds that will not heal because I never understood that I could choose to listen to that still, small voice and defiantly choose another path.
I am not sure if we, as a culture, realize what is happening to us. We listen to the news, read Time Magazine, get advice from John Tesh and Oprah, and consider ourselves informed. Those of us with a little history background might lean on Thomas Jefferson for support of our activities…”Educate and inform the whole mass of the people…they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” So onward we plunge into the information age, for it will guarantee our freedom…our ability to chart our own course. Right?
But little do we know that without some type of inner consciousness, some kind of source that gives us the power to interpret the plethora of facts, opinions, and data that fill the empty vacuum of our minds, that there is no way to remain at the helm of one’s God-given life. There are too many voices and life becomes this tug-a-war between the loudest of them…and let me be abundantly clear about this, you are the rope. And whether you understand Newtonian physics or not, common sense says that that rope will snap one day.
That is what happened to me. This is not the place for me to describe the loss, humiliation, and pain which were the “out-gassings” of a plastic existence. It was devastating and still is, to some extent. Yet pain processed correctly, by that I mean, not shoved away in the proverbial psyche closet, has a silver lining. I have grown in the vast inward regions of the spirit. I have found that voice that whispers wisdom to me in the quiet places. And I have emerged from what Elie Wiesal called the “Kingdom of the Night” sure that freedom is my birthright and that no one has the power to take that away…unless I let them. For as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And to one extent or another, to control another person, the alpha dog has to somehow create a sense of doubt in the self. Perhaps it is a question…not to far from the snake’s query in some garden near the Euphrates eons ago…I can almost hear the hiss now, “Did God really say?….”
Honestly, I don’t know how to express it any stronger…our lives are a gift and freewill is part of that package. I figure if God granted it to us, we should grant it to each other. And I am not saying that we shouldn’t hear what others say to us and at times receive that information as truth. For humility is a travelling companion of truth. But what I am saying is that the voices that influence us must be held up for inspection. Are they good? Do they foster freedom? Or are they merely the ancient snake of control beckoning one into bondage? Sound bites tainted with fear or dire predictions get the red flag right away. I also have a low opinion of statistics too…also another source for control and influence.
I think Walt Whitman had it right. He said he would pause and listen to what others said. This is a spirit of humility, a mark of a truly educated mind. But then, you can almost see him look you in the eye, and say this regarding any idea that would commit him to some kind of slavery…”With undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.” He understood that being taken captive starts in the mind.
Oh, regarding the title “Resistance to tyranny”…the second part is “is obedience to God.” Think about it. Saying “No” can be the most sublime spiritual thing we do. Again a salient piece of wisdom from our friend Thomas. However, I will leave you with this caution…If you are going to free, you will need to educate yourself on the history of your own enslavement, for it is something we do to ourselves. It is true that we inherit most of it, but it is we, who keep the flame alive. Remember tis a gift to be free…