(Please read chapters 1–4 for context.)
reading time: 9 minutes
In the early morning hours, I trembled in bed in my family’s hotel room.
My parents, assuming me and my sister were still asleep, were arguing softly in another room.
In my seven years of life, my parents never argued in front of us before. Tension and thoughts of pure dread turned into terror. I convinced myself my parents were getting a divorce.
The somber background music of my parents arguing turned my peaceful life into a horror movie as I considered my life without two parents.
I remember my parents not talking to each other for days afterward, and the tension between them only fed the beast of fear. I had never had a reason to consider life without my family intact in a peaceful home.
The terror I had in no way compares to what others have experienced. I cannot even attempt to fathom what it would be like for family members ripped apart from the arms of other family members with screams tearing through the night.
How could anyone think that slavery was okay? What happens to an individual’s conscience to think it is all right to permanently separate families for greed?
I was fortunate. My parents worked through their challenges, and I grew up with an intact two-parent home.
Have we “evolved” as a human race when we still oppress and kill each other today as we always have? How can some of us still think it is okay to hate another person because of their race? How can we hate someone because of what their ancestors did in the past?
We are weak. In our own power, we are not capable of loving all people all of the time.
Last time we talked about the Author of the other Story, who gave us instructions for proper jurisdiction for the separate but interwoven spheres of the individual, the family, civil government, and the temple/synagogue/church. Things go better when people within each sphere stay in their lane of authority. Things go awry when those in one sphere enact the authority given to another sphere.
The history of the human race demonstrates ongoing tension between living the story we have been told and the other Story. When we remember our temporary successes, our history reveals the legacy of atrocities we committed, like murder, genocide, racism, and slavery.
Can God restrain evil?
And if God cannot restrain evil, how can we restrain evil?
Pastor John MacArthur gave a message entitled, “How God Restrains Evil in the World.” He lists four different means of restraint that God utilizes in the Bible. I will attempt to combine those principles, and some thoughts of mine, along with David Barton’s ideas mentioned last time.
God has five main restraints to evil. Think of our different skin layers of protection (this should remind us of how each member of the human race is related no matter their skin color). Do you remember in school we learned about the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous layers? Think of some of our immunity system components, including different organs, white blood cells, etc. These work together to prevent diseases and pollutants from entering into our bodies and causing illness and infection.
Like our bodies with layers of defenses, God created restraints to prevent evil, such as oppression, persecution, murder, racism, slavery, etc., from entering into our lives.
See if these levels of restraints look familiar to you.
One, God is the ultimate restraint against evil. God is all powerful and resists the plans of Satan on a second-by-second basis. But like a good parent, He sometimes allows the consequences of our decisions to affect our lives and others.
Two, the individual. God uses the conscience in each individual to resist evil. It is that uncomfortable reminder that something is not right or that something is right. It acts as a warning or affirmation of His ways.
Three, the family. Parents are to love and obey God and teach this to their children. They are to practice God’s instructions for resisting and protection from Satan and his evil.
Four, civil government. The government is supposed to protect those it serves. Those in government, in humility and subservience to God, are to protect the offspring of God.
Five, the church. The church is to speak forth the words and ways of God. To teach love that restrains evil and to challenge one another to examine ourselves for any entrances of Satan into our lives.
If I were Satan, how would I abduct the children of God?
Seduce the weak-minded children of God to accept any other POV or story apart from God’s. Seduce them into making up their own convenient spheres. Chip away against each of God’s five restraints.
How would I chip away at God’s restraints?
First, I will convince you there is no God. Or if there is a God, you can make Him into your acceptable image.
I will sear your conscience to conveniently cater to your base desires and to lessen the discomfort of the sharp edge of right and wrong.
I will destroy your family. I have so many options here. How about if I convince a husband/father that he should have a different woman than his wife. And vice versa. With the breakup in authority, the children will doubt the idea of authority altogether.
I will infiltrate the government and seduce the people’s servants into believing that the people serve them. I will seduce leaders into becoming “poll-iticians,” basing their morality on what the polls say instead of God’s POV.
I will infiltrate churches and seduce them into being like an old hammock. Easy to sleep in, never uncomfortable, restful, with no spine required. No need to bother about real love, confession and forgiveness, sin, evil, and God’s POV.
Today, do we see belief in any other POV other than God’s, acting out of our jurisdictions, and the breaching of our layers of defenses?
Why have I written these chapters in this blog and started to also write a fictional story to illustrate a historical truth? There are many reasons. In my profession, I have always tried to help others in pain. There is so much pain. I usually am relatively soft spoken, and I do not like to call attention to myself or confrontation. I prefer safety in the background.
But something has been growing in me. I can’t sit on the sidelines and watch things crumble all around me. I have to say something.
One event further accelerated my walk away from the comfortable sideline.
It seemed like a regular 2018 summer day. Then we got the morning phone call.
Raven (not her real name) had taken a walk the evening before and hadn’t returned home. Sixteen hours later and she still wasn’t home.
Her parents tried to stay calm and hopeful, but the police were very concerned. I waited to hear our friends’ later call from out of state to tell us Raven was sorry for running away.
But she never came back home.
She took her life at sixteen years of age.
What could we have done? What could we do? We tried to be supportive for our dear family friends, but I felt useless. As a physical therapist, I could not put my hands on this situation and fix it. I could not take away the pain that Raven must have had before she ended her life.
Over the weeks that turned into months, something gradually grew in me. Suddenly the world’s hurts became more personal. I was angry, but the superficial layers of my heart softened.
Things have changed in the last two years or so. I try to keep a closer eye on loved ones and friends. How are they really doing? My heart is more sensitized for the victims of police brutality and the many police officers who do the right things. I am more sensitive to racism and the effects of it on the generations. I am more sensitive to slavery, and I try not to forget the slavery of 40.3 million human trafficking victims worldwide today.
What are we doing to each other?
At what point do injustices in our story become so personal that we make a change?
Some of us think we have things figured out because we only know the story we have been told.
But some of us know there is more.
Something is not right.
In a sense, it feels like we are all away from home. If the six-year-old girl abducted as an infant in chapter 1 solely viewed the story through her own POV, or her abductor’s, then she would have only known her abductor as her mother. She would have missed whose offspring she is.
She would have lived a lie.
That six-year-old girl had a mother who never gave up on her. Her mother rescued her from living a lie.
Could your life story be based on a lie? Is Someone calling you out of the story we have been told?
Raise up the other Story,
Charles Anthony Solorio
In the middle of death and social injustice, Someone is calling you by name for you to learn your Story.
top photo credit Marian Oleksyn, Unsplash
Meet me at charlesanthonysolorio.com to get a portion of my novella, New Seed and Hard Ground, for free. I like to try to do things differently, so I would describe the novella as historical fiction mixed with the supernatural. How is that for a combo?
See you there.