Can’t Fool Mama
“You can fool the people some of the time, but you can’t fool me none of the time!” I don’t recall Mama saying it exactly like that but she implied it several times. Rather, I was asked, “Who you think you fooling?” Mama was too smart to be duped. Annnnd, nothing’s new under the sun! I didn’t think about it then, but Mama had a mother too! The old adage, “History repeats itself!” is still true. I may have thought I was the inventor of contrived schemes back in the day–Mama was hipped to them! By experience? I never asked. For sure, my foolery was new to me….but not Mama!
I can think of some experiences when after they were over, I’d asked myself, “What were you thinking, Vanessa?” I share some of those foolery experiences below. What I didn’t experience, as a child, is physical or emotional abuse. I applaud parents who never introduced their kids to abuse….those who, today, are intentional in never abusing them. Familial dysfunctionality is far too common. All children should be celebrated. Rather some are victims of hurtful words. Some were victims….fast forward….today they’re emotionally damaged adults. They know the sting of degrading words. They know the pain of rejection, neglect, and resentment. They were unloved…felt it then…they feel it now. For some, there’s a mental replay of, “I wanted to abort you…I wish you were dead.” Daunting words to the core. Demoralizing words. Abusive words that haunt, demean and halt any forward reach for a good life. Truth is they’re already dead emotionally. Each time hurtful words were spoken over them…..they died. A mental replay of horrible sentences time after time further dismantled and killed them. Physical death? No. Emotional death. Their emotions were injured too many times for them to live a good life. They died to a desire to achieve…to self-worth. Now, they’re too emotionally disturbed to have good relationships. They are violent, deeply resentful, badly scarred, and, worst of all, some terrorize the lives of others, and commit heinous crimes.
Can an apple tree bring forth grapes? No. Neither is it reasonable to expect emotionally battered children to grow up with a sense of self-worth. Some statements are just not appropriate for the ears of anyone, especially children. They confine them to a mental prison that deprives them of life. Instead of arresting the lethal thoughts that pervade their minds, they arrest themselves when they kill potential happiness with negative thoughts and ways….it’s self-murder. It’s difficult to live a good life. They’re constantly charging themselves for childhood woes. They murder hopes, ambitions, dreams, and positive desires that attempt to peak through the pain of emotional degradation. Daily, they’re held hostage to fatal words from their past….attacked by them anytime they attempt to think well of themselves. Positive energy? Let’s just say they have very little if any. The first judge to ever sit with a gavel, in hand, declaring their destiny is a parent/guardian. Long before a professional judge tried their first criminal case, a guardian, who should have built them in self-worth, had already sentenced them to death by words. The painful words/thoughts that should have been arrested in their minds are now the cause of their arrests for cold-blooded murders, burglaries, robberies, prostitution, and other crimes. The effects of abuse were long-lasting, and formed a production in their lives! Only, the production is not good. It’s horrific…a horror scene…it’s scary. Those that come in contact with them get a glimpse of the horrific production and run in fear of their life. They keep it moving! The chance of experiencing “real love” is slim to none for the critically abused….people run away from them. It hurts when they realize love is far-reaching. It’s painful. Why wouldn’t it be? Everybody wants and deserves to be loved! They’re a hostage to their past but not because they want to be….they’ve been badly impacted by it. Some, have done monstrous things to others because they were never loved.
In thinking about others and their upbringing, I’m grateful to God for my childhood days! Perfect parents, no, they had their marital challenges, disagreements, and their vices. But they did not demean their children. Eight kids! They loved us! Others can’t say the same. They recall hearing, “you’re stupid, you can’t do anything right, you will never amount to anything, you’re ugly.” These statements are as deadly to the mind as bullet wounds are to the physical body. Perpetual verbal and emotional abuse kills self-esteem. They are lethal weapons….fatal blows to the intellect.
Wondering why some are mean as a snake….will bite you in a heartbeat, or do the unthinkable to innocent people…to children? Some are victims of childhood degradation. Now, an adult….self-worth is dead. They’re on a path of arrests. An abusive past positioned them to stand before a judge, be convicted, and given a death sentence for a violent crime. Their guardian’s dysfunction was never arrested…they inherited it as a victim of it. Today, they are not wired to do good in that state. A good life is just a thought, a dream. They burglarize places, steal, prostitute, do drugs and alcohol, prey on children, murder, and more. Previously, they were victims of abuse, now they victimize and terrorize others.
For some, it was a lack of positive words that damaged self-worth. No affirmation, no approval of good behavior is just as toxic and deadly as hearing abusive criticism. Words make a difference either way!
It’s not normal to open an employment door or any other door to one whose contributions to society are visibly destructive. Give them a job? Bring them into my circle? No, I don’t think so! Yet when we don’t reach out to them, they remain in their struggles and add more fuel to the fire. The longer they feel unloved, unwanted, unfulfilled, the more they can and will inflict hurt and pain on innocent people. Some of them appear, initially, as upstanding, caring, amicable citizens, but inwardly, they’re badly wounded, broken….full of dead men’s bones. Dressed to kill…yet live in the graveyard. Dead while they live. Murder themselves and others. Negative with nothing good to say to or about others. Drench the very life out of acquaintances. That’s what’s normal to them. Some really are terrified of them. Others, desperate for love, connect with them and learn the hard way they are too dangerous to be with. They’re innately evil. Can anything good come out of them? Can a toddler, once young and innocent, sentenced to death by parental verbal abuse and abandonment throughout their childhood years recover? Can they be released from self-imprisonment? Released from a prison of hurt, horror, and helplessness? Can the curse of negative words as, “You’re no good”, be reversed, and the affected child sentenced to life? It may be harder to undo a thing than to stop it in the first place, but with God all things are possible!
My Prison Life
Before responding to the questions, I turn the focus to me. I think about my past. I, too, was a hostage…..in prison. My story has never hit the big screen or gone viral but it’s as outstanding as the story of a Facebook post that has gotten a million likes!
I think about the time I’d entered my teenage years. One perfect summer day, one of my siblings and I went to a public park that had a tennis court. Being too old for swings and sliding boards, I went to the tennis court. A man struck up a conversation with me. Now, I don’t recall if he or I was there first but I do recall this, we were alone. I recall his name, but I will call him, “Park.” This was years ago; but I still remember his facial shape, tall slender frame, light-skinned color tone and his black hair. He was handsome to me. He appeared to be thirty-something or older. He asked for my digits, and like a fool, I gave it to him! Think he used it? Yes! But by the time I started getting calls from Park, I’d acquired wisdom from somewhere and had already thought about some things. Mentally, I questioned what he wanted with a young teenage girl. It baffled me that he would even want my phone number. I was flattered but what was he planning to do to me? I was an underage girl according to how old he looked. Why did he desire a relationship with me? Why, Why, Why? My little teenage mind told me that this man was up to no good. Was he hiding something from me? Was he planning to make me a victim of rape? Was he planning to physically abuse me? I thought about it all. He called–I never entertained his calls. The end of that! To this day I am glad Miss Wisdom took over my mind!
I met another fella who appeared to be sweet, nice and quiet, who, eventually, went to prison. Apparently, I gave him my personal information, too, because he was writing to me from prison. I recall him desperately wanting to pursue a relationship with me and after doing his prison time, he wanted to marry me. What??? Marry me? I never responded to him either! Was it because he was in prison? It was part of the reason. I believe I met him because of working at the Police Department.
There’s another fella I met and dated. I recall him walking up and down a large cafe looking and watching…..eventually, he made his way to me…..asked for the digits and began calling. I was born again at this time yet dated him though he was not a Christian. He lied over and over again saying that he would go to church with me but didn’t–I left him alone! For that reason? Yes, partly! I learned his motive from his conversations…..he was a sex addict….he was after one thing. We were both determined to have our way. He didn’t know my mindset has always been this, “no one will abuse or use me.” His loss! I thank God I had enough sense to smell danger and not enter its zone because of people who were intent on using my life to their advantage AND possibly destroying it.
I was on death row at the time of Park’s advances…knew nothing about God but He was surely working on my behalf in terms of romantic relationships! I had other relationships that ended for valid reasons….some of which I look back and ask the same question, “What were you thinking, Vanessa?” I think of times I wanted certain guys and the Lord blocked the relationships from happening for valid reasons! Today, I thank Him! Definitely, I thank God each time I think about Park and other fellas who were blatantly up to no good. I thank God for the decisions I’ve made…for having good motives for getting into relationships. I thank Him for the mindset that a man regardless of his status in life does not define me. I thank God, that although whole, emotionally sound, and still happily single, I’ve never been so desperate for a man that I settled for one who was blatantly detrimental to my gift of wholeness! A haughty spirit? No! It’s a healthy mindset….a big blessing from God! So, why do I share these stories? Because too many queens and princes, today, settle for unhealthy relationships thinking they will experience love only to end up living a life full of heartaches, headaches, and verbal and physical abuse that zaps the life out of them. Unaware, they build soul-ties and stay. Some girls get pregnant and stay. These decisions create personal prisons. For when some see the red flags and know the relationship should be terminated….out of pride, fear, or desperation, they pursue it until their lives are disastrously impacted by it and they no longer want to exist. Don’t misinterpret me, there are plenty examples of good relationships and long-lasting marriages all around me! But sadly, divorce, physical/verbal abuse, and other incidents among Christians are just as high as non-Christians. That says a whole lot!
After my experiences with Park and other guys, my prison life did not end. You would think I was wise in all my ways considering the inbred wisdom I demonstrated as the interest of dating emerged. There were other issues that kept me in prison. I spent many years in prison…traumatic verbal abuse was not a contributing factor.
In January 1977, I had a change of heart. I accepted Christ! But I was still locked up; things and actions were bound to change though! My conversion in January 1977 wasn’t something I expected to do; it just happened at a little COGIC church revival in Virginia. I’m glad it did! After my conversion, an enemy guarded my every move. His intentions were to keep me on death row…keep me bound to sin and destructive ways. I was intimidated by the weapons drawn on me. He began threatening me with thoughts like “Life gets worse when you go all out for God. Saints that devote their lives to Him experience hardships while non-Christians get the blessings.” Being young in Christ, I believed he could wreak havoc on my life for loving God. I concluded any attempts to escape bondage would be deadly. “Stay put Vanessa, gracefully endure the mental unrest of knowing you’re behind bars still engaging in the works of the flesh…..condemned to die!” Live like a sinner though you claim you’re a saint!”
I was a prisoner…guilty of “flesh gratification.” Locked up because I did whatever I wanted to do to gratify my flesh…gratify my feelings of insecurity…of worthlessness. I destroyed others with my tongue for a reward of superiority! It felt good verbally blasting others. Later, I found out it was that green-eyed monster called “jealousy” that instigated my actions. I murdered people with my tongue out of jealousy. I heard this before and it’s still true, “jealousy is as cruel as the grave.” Jealousy hurt my existence, yet, I fully cooperated with it and other innate issues that kept me on death row.
Who likes living in prison? No one! Neither did I! I questioned how I’d gotten there. Why I resorted to destroying others to make myself feel good. My answer came when I learned I’d entered this world condemned, under a death penalty….on death row. The wages of sin is death. I was born a sinner with evil tendencies….born with a destructive nature. I was a pro when it came to sin. I did it well. One sinful “mess up” after another. How can it be any other way? I was locked up in a world of sin, controlled by it….held captive by its grip and unable to break free. Couldn’t do the right thing if I wanted to. I victimized others. The words that came out of my mouth destroyed the self-worth of others. I judged folks…hated on folks. Gossiped. My tongue was a destructive weapon….full of deadly poison! It was only one of the reasons I was on death roll. Of course, it was Adam’s fault. He disobeyed God…died, and everything born after him entered this world under a death penalty with evil tendencies to keep death alive.
Before conversion, I spent 19 years on death row. As I continued in Christ, devoured the Bible, I became “free indeed!” Freedom feels good! “Free at Last! Free at Last! Thank God Almighty I am Free at Last!” How do I maintain my freedom? I put on, and keep Christ on every day! I (self) die daily!
Thank God for freedom but what about others who are still chained to sin? Adam’s disobedience affected all mortals. Our blood is tainted because of him…it’s natural to sin. Is there any wonder familial dysfunction is rampant? That even educators, professionals, politicians, entrepreneurs, business gurus, entertainers, and others are born sinners and are just as much a terror to society…to relationships as other people? Is it a wonder that lives are ruined by this insidious Adamic injection? You don’t have to go far to come in contact with ruthless and toxic people…some are in our own household. I watched a Facebook video that went viral of a mother leaving her child in the care of a babysitter…the sitter enters an elevator, and begins violently beating the child. I could no longer watch it. Bizarre behavior indicative of badly scarred and angry persons. I don’t know the outcome of that story, but that poor baby may be emotionally traumatized for life. There are too many stories of children badly beaten by unfit parents.
Selfishness – A Designer’s Inheritance
All I can say is Adam did a job on us! Literally, when he disobeyed, the flesh (self-consciousness) woke up and became his tyrant, his ruler, his king….the only problem–there dwells no good thing in the flesh! When flesh woke up, it scared Adam and Eve to death! They died! God told them that would happen. Selfishness woke up on a whole new level the instance Adam activated his flesh. When flesh woke up in Adam, selfishness stood up with one mentality, “me, myself, and I.” When flesh woke up, relationship woes went up and stayed up in the form of blame, jealousy spoke up thereafter in the form of murder, and incarceration went up in the form of bondage to sin. Every one of them sped up the need for a deliverer from fleshy dominance…a need for freedom from bondage. Adam was no longer concerned about pleasing God…..it was all about “self.” It could be no other way when flesh woke up. Often, selfishness precedes disobedient acts. Selfishness caused Cain to rise up against Abel. He inherited selfishness from his dad, Adam, who is the original designer of the inner garment. Adam was the first to engage in it. He not only humanly produced selfishness but introduced his descendants to his pattern of “selfishness”….passed it on to us as an inheritance and we’ve been clothed with selfishness ever since.
Adam wasn’t content with just passing down selfishness. He disobeyed God and passed on something else–something God never intended for us to have…the will to sin. Adam did the wrong thing and quickly discovered his wrongdoing was more devastating than gratifying. It manufactured another pattern of life..a deadly one..a life full of deadly bondage. We put on sin and have worn it freely since the first transgression. Prior to yielding to that selfish streak in the wrong way that ushered him into a world of sin, Adam was fully clothed with “God-consciousness.” He took off God to gratify self but immediately put on something else….habitual wrongdoing. A note about selfishness…all “selfishness” is not bad, unfortunately, much of it is coupled with disobedience.
After disobeying, something didn’t feel right to Adam and Eve. Something was missing. Rightfully so. Adam had taken off God….separated him and us from God. It left him naked, cold, exposed to sin, dead, unable to obey and be like God. His thoughts were wrong thoughts, guilty thoughts…he knew it, felt it, and with his wife, attempted to hide it. The pair released themselves from a life of total righteousness. God doesn’t live where sin abides. They hid from God…they needed to manufacture another garment before God located them. They worked on an attire…sewed “fig leaves” together and successfully created a covering, an outfit! Adam’s third pattern! Fig leaves to hide their nakedness. But the new outfit wasn’t sufficient to cover their wrongdoing. Their nakedness was deeper in concept than their understanding. Instead of following God’s pattern for life, Adam rolled out his own patterns…first selfishness, then sin, now a covering for sin that would never cover their transgression! They had no idea of the gravity of their disobedience. There was no undoing to what they had done….at least not by them. They experienced a new world. A world of guilt, sin, sorrow, and death. God found them…made temporary garments of skin for them. Adam’s descendants have worn his garments of selfishness, sin and fig leaves (pseudo covering), since birth. His patterns for life still exist today. But the only covering for wrongdoing is faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ! We must put Him on daily to LIVE!
When I think about the patterns manufactured by Adam, I can’t help but express repulsiveness for them……I hate sin and its effects! Sin may feel good but righteousness is so much better! Adam, the first man, started this human race. His descendants had no other choice but to follow suit and buy into his patterns of selfishness, sin, and fig leaves. I have a serious problem with his patterns….they’re antiquated…out of vogue! When it comes to sin, it’s definitely not the pattern of life I prefer to follow. I rather fashion my life after God’s life! I want my daily statement piece to be obedience! I want people to notice “goodness” when I walk the runway of life! It’s a good lifestyle that’s why I’m always checking out the pattern book…God’s book! It’s been in vogue for many years! It’s model living! Adam’s attire…no thank you! Wear black every day? Stay covered in sin? A dark heart? Nope! A nice black outfit can be very appealing but a black heart….very appalling. Besides, a new and better pattern of life….a new covering was introduced to Adam’s peeps–all we have to do is put Him on!
The “old man” is full of darkness and is not God’s pattern for life. We were designed to live in peace with God first, then others! To love God first, and not ourselves in selfish and unhealthy ways. Personally, I like changing my garments! I can do that in CHRIST…wear vibrant colors that brighten the lives of others. His garments are peace, love, joy, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, generosity, kindness, and righteousness! I get the most fulfilling compliments when I am draped in them! I wear them as often as I can!
Naturally, we are not dressed in righteousness or else it would not have been necessary for God to instruct us to “put off the works of darkness.” Take them off! They’re works that are wrong, ugly, and hidden from others. The bank robber wears a mask to not be identified by law enforcement. The murderer shoots the targeted person and quickly leaves the scene. The adulterer pays attention so as not to get caught. We have duplicated Adam’s patterns nonstop. Men love darkness. Selfishness and sin is a favorite of humanity! They’re regular coverings….worn all day long. Perhaps cause it’s easy to care for….no washing, no cleaning, not a whole lot of effort required for upkeep! I think, too, people like the compliments they get, not from others, but from themselves when they engage in selfishness and sin! Oh yes, “self” will commend you for doing what feels good even if it’s not good. And sin, well, sin feels good. It takes no effort to engage in either one. I admit, some days, I choose my garments based on easiness and comfortability! Not a whole lot of ironing, not a whole lot of twists and turns to get in it. If it has those traits, I’m wearing it today, the day after, the next day after….you get my point? It’s more regular than other garments! Other days, my choice of attire is based on feeling….a sweater feels good in the winter! But folks who wear the same stinky garment every day are repulsive! I know some don’t have closets of clothes like others…I get it, but selfishness….the one that wears it non-stop, I don’t care to have dealings with them! Stay in the presence of chronic selfishness? No! I’m running for my life! Sin, most likely, will follow suit. You better run too….you’ll thank me later!
A lot on “selfishness” huh? Only because “selfishness” needs to be exposed as a bad instigator it can be. Literally, selfishness feels good to the flesh! Don’t take that to heart! This “feel good” garment is very deceptive…it’s temporary. Sooner or later, you will become allergic to the fabric of selfishness…the material it’s made of. It will cause breakouts, bumps, bruises, rashes, scratches….all kinds of reactions that will make you feel really bad after the initial “feel good” experience. Selfishness has consequences of sorts. People wear it daily but can’t stand it when others wear the same garment……some don’t handle the selfishness of others too well. Two selfish people in a relationship….wearing the same stinky garment over and over again, will, sooner or later, start smelling each other and will become repulsive to one another. Often, things turn deadly especially when one of them feel they have to control the other to get their way because they’re both selfish, or one feel they will never get another chance to be in a relationship that benefits them in some way as the one they currently have though there’s a lot of insecurity about the relationship. Don’t let one of them attempt to escape the danger zone! It’s skin for skin… self-love turned deadly. We don’t see the fabric of people’s hearts until we see them in action! Some, in a troubled relationship, woke up too late to see the bruised and unhealthy heart of a partner….a battered soul aching for attention and love. A bad situation opened their eyes to their lover’s rage and control. It can happen to anyone that gives them attention.
I wrote earlier that selfishness is not all bad, but the one who’s got to have their way, or “it’s the highway” is dangerous. That’s one who has taken the garment of selfishness to a whole new level….a dangerous level. One, who probably engaged in and experienced selfishness since childhood. One, adroit in adding fig leaves to their selfish heart to cover the issue of selfishness. Some have attempted to fix the deprivation of love with a relationship only to manufacture a monstrous existence bred by other destructive behaviors. They’re naked, uncovered, unloved….aching for love. Their initial resort is self-gratification even if it terrorizes the life of someone else. People are selfish and don’t think it’s recognizable. Yet, many recognize detrimental selfishness in relationships, and even with red flags, they are desperate for love so they stay. The one who plays with intense selfishness may end up getting hurt….very badly, even killed sometimes.
People are deeply scarred, wounded emotionally….have ripped hearts because of selfishness…a by-product of sin. They connect to emotionally scarred people unknowingly and add another layer of emotional sorrow that further rip and damage their heart. “Birds of a feather flock together.” Two people in a relationship from serious dysfunctional backgrounds… it’s the recipe for a devastating outcome in life. Televised shows like, “The First 48, 20/20 on Own TV, For My Man, and Fatal Attraction” reveal the emotional scars of bitter and angry people. Reveal the terror some experience as they attempt to build relationships. Reveal the reality of good guys and gals, with promising futures, attacked, wounded, scarred, deceived, even killed by so-called friends & lovers they were attracted to. Real stories! It’s reality that some, in relationships, experienced an escalation of emotional damage by reason thereof.
Often, they that are abused by a romantic relationship find it difficult to move forward. They made a bad decision that put a cap on love, peace, joy, and more. Some can’t work with others after a bad relationship….they were demeaned by parents and now by a lover without the capacity to love. They no longer strive to be the best version of themselves. They were belittled too many times. They connected themselves to an emotionally unstable person with a traumatic and tumultuous childhood…..now doing prison time, literally and personally. They connected themselves to a delinquent/convict who influenced them to commit a crime…ruined their life. Parents abused them emotionally, teachers degraded them, lovers they were attracted to used them and we expect them to have respect and love for themselves and others? These are real-life scenarios of people whose life is a cycle of injury because of attempting to build a relationship with the wrong person. Now, they only exist….rather than live! Don’t get me wrong, there are some who were emotionally abused, who are ex-convicts, and turned out fine, but primarily because of God, or they developed a mindset to live differently from where their life was headed. Believe me, this is not the norm when the effects of abuse are deeply-rooted.
Dead While You Live – Death Row
Without Christ, dysfunctional or not, we are on death row.…under a death penalty. But double jeopardy for the one living on death row without Christ and experiencing dysfunctionality in the worst way…hell on earth and eternal hell in their afterlife. Being connected to someone who’s emotionally and physically abusive exacerbates the life of the one who has experienced a dysfunctional and painful childhood. How can they excel? They stay on death row. It’s easy to go from one bad relationship to another which results in a cycle of destructive self-love. But is it “love” when you are compelled, by your lover’s actions, to live in fear? Constantly concerned about the outcome of your life? Afraid to call off the relationship or be subjected to physical harm. Or is it love when one partner is obsessed and defiant about not letting you go when you really want to for valid reasons? This kind of living, well, it’s really not living. It’s graveyard living. It’s bondage to the wrong person with restraints on your life. No life whatsoever. You either have to live up to their expectations or risk getting killed for real for attempting an escape. Some have succumbed to death because of a lover. Others remained faithful to a lover who eventually influenced them to engage in criminal behavior. The abusive partner’s behavior incited within them a will to kill not just anybody but their own partner. They were desperate for companionship but didn’t take into account that something was brewing within them against their lover. Living? No, it’s living in the graveyard. Dead while you live. It’s living on death row. They’re not physically dead; neither are they living.
Fear, trauma, abuse, arrests, jealousy, neglect, abandonment, suicidal attempts, depression, and much more are relatives whose last name is, “negative.” They’re a family of negatives that live on death row where shots are constantly heard. Joy, peace, happiness, ecstasy, healing, wholeness have all been shot down by this family of negatives. Literally, because of these negative relatives, children, parents, siblings, friends, and relatives are often left to mourn the departure of loved ones from humanly existence either while they physically live or after literal death.
I once lived on death row…on a different level though. Here’s the bigger problem….when a large number of folks trod the same path of dysfunction, selfishness, and sin, society suffers! Future generations suffer. Innocent children of these non-healthy, no self-love people suffer badly because how can Mama or Daddy love their child when they don’t love themselves? These are the topics that should be addressed at conferences today! “Healthy self-love” teachings should be on repeat in our churches/conferences!
The Road to Recovery
Is there a solution? A “road to recovery?” I speak from my own experiences! I came off of death row! I had a “Damascus road” experience! I was stopped in my tracks by One named Jesus! Adam put me on death roll. Jesus Christ took me off! Sentenced me to life! Now, I know from experience, Jesus is the key to the GOOD LIFE!
Men and women, alike, sentenced to life in prison…entered into the ultimate relationship with Christ while there and are now free in prison! Others, sentenced to a number of years in prison, served their time, never came into a relationship with Christ while there, and still live as prisoners to sin that’s more than likely to land them in prison again. They’re bound to sin and continue under the sentence of condemnation even now that they are out of prison. Jesus Christ is the ONE we should be in a relationship with first and foremost! He’s unlike us who are destructive with our mouths. He loves us all! He won’t make you feel unwanted or unloved! He will provide for us! Everything about Him is RIGHT!
Reader, if you are in a bad relationship, free yourself! If you don’t know how to end it, seek help…..at the same time, cry out to the One that can take over that situation and work on your behalf! There are success stories of people who have come out of bad relationships and turned their lives around by the grace of Jesus! Freedom is an awesome way of life! There’s ONE way to preclude literal prison time and it’s becoming free from the bondage of sin so that the same cycle of crime that has its roots in sin and selfishness is not repeated!
Reader, if you are free in Christ and not doing prison time, you can encourage others to enter into a relationship with Christ! Encourage/help other individuals to not become entangled in potentially fatal relationships. It may be your own child. It may be someone else’s child saved from destruction. Make it a point to encourage the discouraged. Encourage the one who was rejected and abandoned during their childhood days. It can change the trajectory of their lives! It doesn’t take much! Just a kind word from a sincere heart to strengthen their self-esteem. People want affirmation…love–to know someone cares for them, sees them as valuable, and respects them! Those of us who are no longer living under the sentence of condemnation know the value of not living on death row. Let’s teach others to proclaim what God says about them! Let’s genuinely help others see value in themselves, and that there is, therefore now, no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. In Christ, they have been sentenced to life! Help them to go and live healthy, whole and complete lives! Help them to know with certainty that they are sentenced to life! You may have to give them means of business…..means of helping them to stay busy with other things that are fulfilling to them. Give them the means of experiencing positive things that can become innate and normal. Helping others is the ultimate fulfillment in life and pays great dividends!
A Plea to Live
If we would just look and listen…pay attention, we will hear the unspoken pleas of hurting people. We will see it in their eyes. They’re prisoners wanting freedom. They want to live! Prisoners on death row would love to have a life sentence over the death penalty. They hope for it. At least they get to die on their own. This Christian life affords us the right to do just that….die on our own! God prefers we die here and now that we might live eternally with Him! We must DIE to SELF to get a LIFE SENTENCE! Adam imprisoned us to sin….put us under the death sentence. The consequences of sin can be long-lasting, devastating….and definitely deadly. That’s what sin does to relationships…..cause devastating reactions towards one another, and all connected to the perpetrator and victim suffer. Cain killed Abel. Adam and Eve were affected by Cain’s decision not just Abel. They felt the pain of Abel’s loss! Our wrongdoings don’t just affect us but others connected to us.
Another Adam, another man, the second man, Jesus Christ, came and sentenced us to LIFE! He sentenced me to LIFE! No judge can overturn my life sentence! Christ spoke these words to me…THE THIEF COMES TO STEAL, KILL, AND DESTROY BUT I HAVE COME THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE LIFE AND HAVE IT MORE ABUNDANTLY! St. John 10:10 (KJV). I was dirty, filthy, had a heart stained with sin but Christ cleansed it…removed the stains, and now I LIVE free from the bondage of sin! Reader, let’s do our part, when possible. Let’s be godly role models and mentors to help others live the same healthy lives we are privy to. Some suggestions:
- Talk to the younger generation about relationships/choices/connections.
- Speak well to them when they come into your circle. Build bonds with them if you can….it may be their saving grace!
- Pray for children.
- Help them to understand what healthy, whole and complete means! Help them get the help they need to overcome long-time feelings of rejections and other bad emotions.
- Encourage, Encourage, Encourage–speak wellness to their minds…affirmations to them! Be the one to sentence them to life by affirmations! (“I have watched people in my immediate circle. When I show love by something I do, their entire demeanor changes, they laugh more, they live more, they smile more, because “love” makes a big difference in the life of others. Even those who feel unwanted. All they want is love!”) Sentence them to life by your words, by your actions, by your love! Speak life to them to reprogram their minds to new thoughts about themselves.
- Be the role model they need!
- Stay engaged with them…..be active in their lives…let them see what enjoying life really means!
- Teach them to stay mindful of the environment they live in…..the sights, sounds, and feelings will leave an indelible impression on their mind and emotions….those that are not good will produce a kingdom of wrongs. Teach them to live against the wrongs!
One tip to parents to help their children grow up respecting people rather than harming them, whether an elderly person or someone they are in relationship with is this, while they are young look for opportunities for them to take care of the chores of older/elderly people (no charge) like cutting their grass, or picking up trash for them or something else. Let them help out at various centers where the homeless are fed. They may not be able to touch the food but they can probably clean up. All of this will teach them to value life rather than get involved in crime or have ruthless attitudes. It will help them stay away from relationships that devalue life because they will know the feeling of value. It will remind them of how to treat people. They will value people rather than hurt them…rather than steal from them. It will give them a feeling of satisfaction! It will teach them to love their neighbors as themselves. It’s what they’ve wanted….to love and be loved! It’s all a part of the gavel that Jesus “banged” on the judgment stand when He said, YOU ARE SENTENCED TO LIFE!