Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Slave Mentality

I just finished reading a book entitled PRINCESS: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil by Jean Sasson. Set in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the story is about the plight of women in this strict religious society. The book contains much disturbing and shocking information but it’s well worth reading.

In the calendar of events listed at the back, it states that in 1962, slavery was abolished and yet most slaves continued to live with their former owners. This is a phenomenon that also occurred in the U.S. after slaves were freed. Many had grown secure in their slavery so they chose to continue to live as though nothing had changed. They chose the supposed security of slavery over the unpredictability of freedom.

I believe there is a slave mentality that sets in after someone has been bound for many years. If the slave owner is kind, the slave if given the choice may choose to remain as a servant. If the slave owner is cruel, however, the slave may choose to venture out on his own but his thoughts and behavior are still controlled by a slave mentality.

This is also the history of the children of Israel. When they left Egypt, God was able to immediately take them out of Egypt but it was a lengthy process to get Egypt out of them. The process began and continued in the wilderness. However, even though they finally entered the promise land, they were never totally free in their hearts. This became obvious when they chose to be ruled by a king rather than live out of their relationship with God.

Unfortunately, this mindset is still alive and well in the church. Father invites us into a life lived out of our union with him but instead, we’ve chosen to be enslaved to the supposed security of man-made institutions. Although he’s called us to a life of freedom, we’ve chosen to remain in bondage following rules and laws.

The good news is that many in the church have finally decided to leave the slavery of legalism and live in freedom. However, once the decision is made, we’ll still have to deal with thoughts and behaviors that are holdovers from our days of bondage. When this happens, it’s very easy to get discouraged and give up. It’s important, however, that we don’t allow ourselves to give up because, if we continue to move forward even when we think we’re making little or no progress, we’ll eventually begin to experience greater and greater freedom.

Learning to live free is a process. Just because Father says we’re free doesn’t mean, we’ll automatically know how to live free. We have to be re-trained how to live free. This is a process that is similar to that used by animal handlers who re-train animals who were raised in captivity before releasing them into the wild. To read more about this process, follow this link.

After I wrote this, I read a post written by Amy over at Walking In The Spirit that goes along well with my post. To read what she has to say, follow this link.

12 comments:

Amy said...

Aida,
Thank you for mentioning the book Passion. I've added to my ever growing (hee hee!) Book Wish List. Thank you also oodles for citing/mentioning my "Escaping from the Zoo" post. I'm grateful some of the things I mentioned it in spurned you to post this blog!

One of the best books about slavery (and also a movie) is "Roots" (I'm sure you've heard/seen it). It just so includes such raw experiences, truth, events and feelings of the horror of slavery.

Excellent connection you made, Aida, of the dynamics that can occur between slave owner and servant if the master is a kind one. The servant may decided, if freed to "stay" and continue to serve....

"God was able to immediately take them out of Egypt but it was a lengthy process to get Egypt out of them. The process began and continued in the wilderness. However, even though they finally entered the promise land, they were never totally free in their hearts. This became obvious when they chose to be ruled by a king rather than live out of their relationship with God."

Indeed, great insight into this occurance. Getting the "slave" out of one's hearts and the reality of one's freedom often takes time and certainly is a process.

"The good news is that many in the church have finally decided to leave the slavery of legalism and live in freedom. However, once the decision is made, we’ll still have to deal with thoughts and behaviors that are holdovers from our days of bondage...if we continue to move forward even when we think we’re making little or no progress, we’ll eventually begin to experience greater and greater freedom."

Amen! Letting go of old habits and ways of living that were congruent to bondage does most certainly take time. The beauty is that I honestly believe Father honors a heart that truly seeks to take His invitation for freedom, despite themisunderstanding that can happen from those who simply don't understand that living in the Wild is what enables us to live in the Reality and Freedom of His Love.

Great post, Aida!

Blessings,
~Amy :)
http://amyiswalkinginthespirit.blogspot.com

Tyler Dawn said...

Funny, or really not so funny -- former slaves who left would deride former slaves who stayed. Sadly, we do the same thing, eh? Former religionists who leave deriding the ones who stay, not realising their freedom, because it is a relatively comfortable place to be.

I cannot imagine, I simply cannot imagine how terrifying it would have been to suddenly be free. After the thrill wore off and reality hit that they no longer had a home. And maybe to realise that it had never been their home to begin with -- they were merely serving a false god.

I remember my fear of being out of church, now magnify that a hundred thousandfold and I can begin to perceive why many former slaves stayed with their "masters."

I never before made this connection you have made but you are right. Awesome post. Two thumbs up.

Bino M. said...

Aida,
This post and the article you linked were great! Very encouraging and freeing. I totally agree with you that if don't give up and stand firm, we’ll eventually begin to experience greater and greater freedom. This is true in my own life as I look back I can realize that I am freer than the last year now. It's amazing!

Thank you for the encouraging words!

Aida said...

Amy, I saw Roots when it first came out and it was a powerful series.

I agree. I know from experience that Father was drawing me more deeply into his life and freedom even when I didn't understand what was happening. He saw my heart and began to lead me in that direction. People may not understand our freedom but, if we'll continue on this journey, living in the wild will become a natural way to live.

Aida said...

Great thoughts, Tyler. You're right. I never thought about it from that perspective but I remember the feeling of lostness when I realized that I no longer had a pastor or a church. Figuring out how to do things that were formerly done for me was no easy job.

BTW, have you ever seen the movie Madagascar? It's about animals raised in a zoo that all of a sudden are forced to live in the wild and how difficult it was for them to adjust. I think that movie goes along well what you shared.

I'm glad you enjoyed this post.

Aida said...

Bino, I think an important key is persistence. Like you, I can see myself getting freer and freer as I've stood firm and continued to move forward.

Thanks for your comments.

ViolableWings said...

Aida,
Thank you for another great post, I agree with Bino, persistance is the key. I go back and forth wondering if my ability to persist is strong enough, then I just keep going and realize that my powers of persistance (if indeed I have any) is not enough, and that I am still holding on simply because I am being held by my Father and He is keeping me. That knowledge is growing in me (albeit slowly) and giving me more and more spiritual confidence. Now if I can only apply that knowledge in my physical world of happenings to keep me going in that, I should say I would do a jolly lot better with stress lol.
Anne and I loved the post about the animal handlers, thanks for pointing it out!

Many blessings to you dear friend,
Ron

Aida said...

Thanks, Ron.

I agree with you about persistence. To be honest, I don't have any. I'm normally a quitter. When the going gets rough, I usually give up and I'm amazed that I've stayed on this journey and kept moving forward in spite of the opposition. I know that it's been Father's persistence working in me. It's definitely not my own.

Persistence is only needed when we have opposition so we only see it at work when we have difficulties. Also, we only see its completed work when the trial is over. I believe persistence is a step by step trusting in Father to keep us and not in our abilty to reach the end.

Thanks for your comments. As you can tell, they made me think deeper on this subject.

Jean said...

Hi Aida, This is Jean Sasson again. I posted last week but I see that it has never shown up! I don't know what I might have done but most likely missed an important step. Now I can't recall what all I said, but I do like your post and appreciate what you say about my book; however, I have not written one named PASSION, it was PRINCESS: A True Story of LIfe Behind the Veil, most likely. Can you possibly post the cover or if not, advise me something of the publisher, etc. I'd love to know! Meanwhile, thanks again. All best to everyone who posted on your site. Jean Sasson

Aida said...

Jean, I am so sorry. I can't believe I did that and never realized it. I'll immediately post a blog correcting the error. I'll also try to add a picture. I'm not sure how I could have made that error but I'll also correct it here.

How did you ever find me? I hope you'll stick around. I may need you to straighten me out again some time. LOL

Jean said...

Hi again! Oh, I wasn't straightening you out (smile) it's just that the PRINCESS books are in about 65 different editions and I have a hard time keeping up. I had not heard of PASSION although one of the publishers (Italy) titled the book SLAVE.... I was mainly curious to see the book so I could go back and ask for copies. But, then again, perhaps you are right and it was NOT named Passion.. Anyhow, let me know when you get a chance and I'd appreciate it. I found your blog because of GOOGLE who has this wonderful feature where one can sign up and get notified of any blogs that mention subjects dear to their heart. Of course, I follow blogs who discuss women's issues, or my books, etc., and your blog popped into my inbox and I took a look and wanted to say hello. I'm writing a new book so I have to dash off as I have a strict work schedule, but it is fun to say hello and touch base. I'll check back in, in another week or so. For now, have a wonderful week... Jean Sasson

Aida said...

Hi Jean. Well, I’m glad you caught the error. The book I read is definitely called Princess. I still can’t believe I made such a big blooper. I was just afraid that I had offended you and I certainly didn’t want to do that but you’ve been most gracious in your response.

I’d be interested in that Google feature. What’s it called?

Right now, I’m not sure that I’m sorry that I made that mistake. I might not have gotten a chance to meet you otherwise. Your book has really gotten me thinking about the need for women’s rights. It’s a much needed cause and I’m glad you’re active in making people aware of the abuse.

If you get a chance to look at some of my blog posts, you’ll see that my primary emphasis is God’s grace and his love. However, my secondary emphasis is spiritual abuse. I think women’s rights and spiritual abuse are linked together in many cases since in abusive churches women are often used and abused by the leadership.

BTW, I work in a public high school so I donated your book to the school library. Hopefully, they’ll put it on the shelves. It would be good for the kids to understand how difficult it is to be a woman in other parts of the world.

Thanks for checking in again. I hope you’ll be back and maybe share a little about your new book.