I recently finished writing my first Civil War novel about the bravery and courage of those who aided the Underground Railroad. It’s been inspiring, heartbreaking and challenging, to say the least, but so incredibly rewarding to examine the lives of some of our country’s rawest freedom fighters.
In gathering research, I found this quote by Harriet Tubman and it left a deep impression in my spirit. “I freed a thousand slaves. I would’ve freed a thousand more, if they only knew they were slaves.”
If they only knew they were slaves…
After all my research and delving into the world of American slavery, I think it’s safe to say there is often a mindset associated with it. After all, ‘normal’ is whatever you grew up with. ‘Normal’ is what you’ve always known.
Frederick Douglass put it this way: “I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and as far as possible, to annihilate his power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; he must be made to feel that slavery is right…”
Just think about the children of Israel. For four hundred years, they had been born as slaves in Egypt, raised as slaves, told what to think, what to do, how to act, how to dress, how to perceive themselves and their own place in the world. That was their norm, ingrained in the fiber of their being since birth.
Then along comes Moses in a God-sent mission and, for the first time in over four hundred years, they were free.
Oh, physically, they were free to march out of Egypt but mentally, they still retained the mindset of a slave. God knew this and carried them to Mt. Sinai where He could give them a new standard of living, of thinking, of being. God wanted not only to free them physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well. He wanted them to shed that oppressive slave mentality so they could enjoy all He had planned for them.
A slave mentality conditions a person to accept harmful circumstances to themselves as the natural order of things. They view their own worth through their master’s eyes. They believe about themselves what they have been told to believe, whether it’s true or not.
So what am I trying to say? Simply this: how many of us have grasped hold of the freedom offered to us by Jesus, how many of us have asked Him to be Lord of our lives, yet still feel trapped, stuck or chained?
Oh, we’re spiritually free yet too many of us have retained the old slave mentality. The enemy of our souls have told us for far too long that we’re worthless, unwanted and unloved. He brings up our past mistakes and screams those accusations like echoes through mountain passes, always taunting, always accusing, always lying.
You’ll never be good enough…God can’t use you…You’re too messy…You’re a failure…God couldn’t truly love you after all you’ve done…If others knew the real you, they couldn’t possibly love you…
Jesus paid an awfully high price to purchase our freedom. What a tragedy that far too many of us remain mentally and emotionally locked up in the chains of slavery. Most of the time, we want God to transform us spiritually but don’t realize that we need to let Him transform our minds, thoughts and beliefs about ourselves as well.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
We will be exploring how to break free of the slavery mindset more in part two, but here is your teaser and food for thought in the meantime.
How do we snap those chains off for good?
- Forgive those who have wronged you…even if that means forgiving yourself.
- We can’t dance in the freedom of Christ if we continue to pattern our lives after the broken world around us.
- Refuse to let anyone or anything be more important to you than Jesus.
Stay tuned for Part Two…coming soon!
What about you? What lies have you believed about yourself? In what ways do you feel stuck in your walk with God?