Episode 26: The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2

emotional health, mental health, psychology, spiritual health, katina horton, podcasting, podcast, blog, author life, scornful, prodigal son, Jonah, bitterness, resentment, cynical, sin, anger

Episode 26: The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2
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In case you missed last week’s recording, “The Sin of Cynicism-Part 1”, you can find that here. Today’s recording is Episode 26-The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2.

The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2 Outline

  • Reflection on Part 1
  • Dissection of The Older Brother
  • Jonah’s Rights
  • Our Rights
  • Solution
  • Closing
  • Podcast Transcript

Welcome to Healing Our Brokenness Part 2.  Today’s recording is episode 26:  The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2.  Just as a quick recap from Part 1, we discussed the fact that Cynicism has several factors that lead up to its brokenness as a state of mind:

Reflection on Part 1

Those factors are:

  • You have experienced a lot of issues with betrayal.
  • There are historical patterns of things not working out in your favor, or working out in a way that is undesirable to you.
  • You get to the point of seeing too much and hearing too much to think that things will be different.
  • Most of the people that you trusted let you down.
  • The few times that you thought things would turn out good, they turned out bad, and you lost faith in believing that things could be different.

In the case of the two stories that we are going to look at today, the two biblical characters carried out the sin of cynicism because of two main reasons:

  • The historical pattern of character of the authority figures.
  • The lack of legalism that existed for these authority figures.

The two men that we are going to dissect is Jonah and the older brother of the prodigal son. 

Their reasons for cynicism contradict the normal factors.  Cynicism set in with both of these men because of the recognition of the good qualities of the father and God.

Dissection of The Older Brother

  • Let’s explore the story of the prodigal son first.
  • The dad was gracious, merciful, slow to anger, kind, forgiving, accepting, non-judgmental, long-suffering, and compassionate.

After the prodigal son returned home penniless, hungry, and exhausted from wild living, the father could have greeted him with judgment, coldness, and distance.  Instead he accepted his son, welcomed him with a grateful heart that he was safe and sound, and embraced him for who he was. 

The fact that he ran to meet him to diffuse being shamed by the community was a bonus.  It showed the son that he was going to be welcomed.  There is nothing worse than messing up big time, and not knowing what other Christians are going to say as you reenter the house of God or run into them while you are in public.

Luke 15 tells us:  But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

The father knew that hitting rock bottom was enough of a consequence for the younger son.  He didn’t need to enforce further punishment.  He also possessed enough self-acceptance that he didn’t worry about being embarrassed in regard to the reaction of the community.

Oh Self-Pity

The older son dwelled on his sin of cynicism that is evidenced through dialog that is filled with scornfulness, bitterness, and resentment.  He felt that he had been failed.  He didn’t focus on his younger brother’s condition of going from “lost to found”.  Along with his cynicism, he was filled with self-pity and envy: Luke 15: 28-31 reads:  “28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

32 It was meet that we should make merry and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

The father tried to get the older son to go in twice.  We are left wondering what eventually happened.  Did he stay outside and continue to sulk?  One thing this clear about the brother’s dialog is that not only is he resentful, but he is filled with broken thinking.  Two words suggest broken thinking when resentment is present: “always and never”.

Our dialog goes something like this: 

“I always have to clean the house.”

“She always gets to do something special.”

“I never have the opportunity to do anything.”

Nine times out of ten, these statements aren’t true.  If they are true, there is some type of dynamic that has been setup that needs to change.  Or, perhaps, the financial situation has changed that allows you to do more for the younger child than you were able to do for the older child.  Whatever the case may be, broken thinking is present.

First-born children tend to be rule-followers.  With that thought in mind, the older son definitely felt that he was cheated since he was the “rule-follower”.  However, one thing about rule followers is that they can get caught up in being legalistic because they follow the rules.  God is more concerned about our hearts than checking off boxes to say that we did something.

Let’s explore the story of Jonah.

Jonah was told to go to Nineveh to warn them about their sin and God’s judgment for their sin if they continued going in the direction that they were going.

Jonah decided that he knew best, and so, he skipped out on the trip altogether, and took a boat ride to a different part of town.  God had a fish to swallow Jonah.  And Jonah prayed inside of the fish for God’s mercy and grace, and the fish released Jonah. 

Let’s discuss the character of the authority figure in Jonah’s story.

In Jonah’s story, this figure is God.  Not surprisingly, the dad in our first story is actually a representation of God.

What are the characteristics of God that Jonah was familiar with?

  • God was gracious, merciful, slow to anger, kind, forgiving, accepting, non-judgmental, long-suffering, and compassionate.

In Jonah’s story, Jonah was bitter, resentful, and cynical because God proved that his heart was all of those characteristics that were just mentioned.  It was okay for God to have all these attributes when it came to saving him.  However, it wasn’t okay for him to possess them when it came to saving the Ninevites.

 

God gave Jonah a chance to get it right.  He sent him to Nineveh a second time:

 

Jonah 3 King James Version (KJV)

And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying,

Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.

So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of theLord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.

And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

Part 2

So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:

But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn everyone from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

The Ninevites didn’t have to suffer consequences because they repented right away: 

Jonah 4: 10 says:

10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Like the older brother in the prodigal son story, Jonah was so angry that he didn’t know what to do with himself.  God tried reasoning with him.  Unfortunately, Jonah wasn’t haven’t it.

His cynicism showed up in verses 1-2, when he basically said, “See, this is why I didn’t do what you told me.  I know this is how you would respond.”

Here are his exact words: “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.

And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.

God told Jonah that the people were lost, just as the father tried to help his older son to understand about the prodigal: 

emotional health, mental health, psychology, spiritual health, katina horton, podcasting, podcast, blog, author life, scornful, prodigal son, Jonah, bitterness, resentment, cynical, sin, anger
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Jonah 4: 7-11, KJV

But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.

And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

10 Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

Jonah and His Rights

Jonah pouted outside of the city underneath the tree just as the older brother pouted outside of the party celebration that was going on inside for the prodigal son.  Both men felt that they were right.  Both authority figures tried reasoning with them twice.  Both were caught up in anger, bitterness, resentment, and cynicism.  And both missed out on blessings because of it.  But why?  They ignored the sovereignty of God.  We have all been in both of their shoes.  WE know best.  WE know what justice should look like.  WE can play God and have mercy and grace poured out on us, and others should not.  When we don’t adhere to God’s plans, his timing, and his will, we trade whole faith for broken pieces of bitterness, resentment, and cynicism every time.

When cynicism becomes our brokenness, it becomes our idol, and we began to scorn God directly and indirectly because of our trials and other peoples’ success.  This is how Satan works.  If he can get us to lose trust in our faith due to our trials, others’ brokenness, and the hurt and pain of “church hurt”.  Then, he has got us.

Solutions

So, the question is, how do we get out of this sin.  Prayer.  Lots of it.  Cynicism is spiritual like all other sin.  Getting grounded in our identity.  Getting rid of our broken thinking.  Changed thinking equals changed talking and changed talking equals changed behavior.  Accept that God is sovereign.  Pray and ask God to help you to be able to trust again, knowing that we can’t live in this world without it.  It takes time to heal, but it is possible.  Trust God’s sovereignty and plans for our lives.

I hope that you have enjoyed today’s episode.  Thank you for listening, and if today’s episode has impressed upon your heart, share it with a friend or coworker.

God bless! 

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Episode 25: The Sin of Cynicism-Part 1

emotional health, ptsd, trauma, mental health, sin, cynicism, mockery, scornful, katina horton, healing, spiritual health, podcaster, author, author life, blogger

Episode 25: The Sin of Cynicism-Part 1
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Hello everyone! I have a new podcast episode over on the blog. Just in case you missed the last episode, you can find that one here. Today’s podcast episode is entitled, “The Sin of Cynicism-Part 1”. My podcast is now available on YouTube. Click here to subscribe to my YouTube Channel for podcast episodes.

emotional health, ptsd, trauma, mental health, sin, cynicism, mockery, scornful, katina horton, healing, spiritual health, podcaster, author, author life, blogger
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The Sin of Cynicism Podcast Outline

  • Definition of Cynicism
  • Factors that Predispose Us for Cynicism
  • Abuse and Cynicism
  • Podcast Transcript

Good evening!  Welcome to the Healing Our Brokenness Podcast.  Today’s recording is Episode 25: “The Sin of Cynicism-Part 1”

Definition of Cynicism

Cynicism is the process of being a scorner, doubter, scoffer, having paranoia, mistrust, and skepticism about things.  Everyone is cynical at one time or another, however, cynicism becomes a concern when it gets in the way of life’s joys for us, other people being around us, and it is labeled as part of our brokenness.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

(Psalm 1:1)

Factors that Predispose Us for Cynicism

There are several factors that make up the reasons for one adopting cynicism as part of their lifestyle:

  • You have experienced a lot of issues with betrayal.
  • There are historical patterns of things not working out in your favor, or working out in a way that is undesirable to you.
  • You get to the point of seeing too much and hearing too much to think that things will be different.
  • Most of the people that you trusted let you down.
  • The few times that you thought things would turn out good, they turned out bad, and you lost faith in believing that things could be different.

Whatever, the case may be, from the outside looking in, it is easy to be judgmental to something we don’t understand.  It is not a license for us to commit the sin.  However, empathy helps us to understand that the sin of cynicism is just like having any other sin.   It becomes addictive, spreads like a disease, creates negativity, and begs for more.

After having to deal with a divorce from a toxic individual, I experienced some cynicism creeping in.  As a matter of fact, I had someone to mention it to me.  It made me become more aware of when I was allowing it to get a foothold. 

Abuse and Cynicism

I have also noticed that when individuals have been abused, and the abuser has run an all-out smear campaign packed with lies against the victim , and then brainwashes, and pulls in the victim’s family, it becomes the perfect tool for Satan to intertwine inside this person as a stronghold, rather than just a phase of grief. 

The individual starts to believe that no one can be trusted.  We know that this isn’t true.  However, when we are in pain, we often shake hands with Satan for all kinds of addictions and coping mechanisms to cover up our hurt.

We can vacillate from one end of the spectrum to another.  Either we are too trusting, or we distrust everyone.

Trust takes a while to gain.  When trust is broken through lies and betrayal, we are left with the thoughts in our minds that everyone will do the same thing that this person or persons did to us.

Replacing our pain and hurt with healing is the hard, but fruitful way out of cynicism.  But as with any coping mechanism, what we have allowed to go on for so long becomes part of our normal and dysfunctional patterns of behavior.

When things aren’t happening our way, in our will, and in our timing, we trade whole faith and God’s promises for broken pieces of cynicism.

I want to leave you with some bible verses to help you if the sin of cynicism is a part of your brokenness:

Romans 11 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Remnant of Israel

11 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham,[a] a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

The Example of Christ-Romans 15: 1-7

15 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Thank you for listening to Episode 25 of Healing Our Brokenness:  “The Sin of Cynicism-Part 1”.  Remember if this podcast is making a difference in your life, recommend a friend for listening.  Thanks, and have a beautifully blessed weekend!

Refusal to Heal

healing, refusal to heal, brokenness, sin, emotional health, ptsd, trauma, mental health, priorities, course, road, katina horton, author, poet, poetry, blogger

Background on Refusal to Heal

This poem reflects the struggle that lies within all of us when it comes to healing.  We all have the potential.  However, healing involves doing.  Which path will we choose?

healing, refusal to heal, brokenness, sin, emotional health, ptsd, trauma, mental health, priorities, course, road, katina horton, author, poet, poetry, blogger
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“Time to heal. Time to heal.

Though it may not be a thrill.”

 

No, I’ll stay busy.

I will avoid.

I won’t get help.

My soul’s annoyed.

 

It’s your decision.

There is no force.

Whatever you choose,

You’ve set your course.

 

Just as a reminder,

There is no win.

When you know good to do,

And ignore it,

Then it becomes sin.

 

 

 

 

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.  James 4: 17

 

Other poems:

Opening the Trust Door

Disappointments

Sin

sin, contract, wages, Romans, decision-making, poetry, spiritual health, our soul, trapped, black, darkness

The last poem that I wrote is entitled, “Boundaries“. Today’s Poem, Sin, gives us a picture of what happens when we sign the contract and make friends with Sin.

sin, contract, wages, Romans, decision-making, poetry, spiritual health, our soul, trapped, black, darkness
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Sin.

It pulls you.

It turns you.

Changes you within.

Sin.

It lies to you.

Deceives you.

Makes you its friend.

Sin.

It rows in you.

And grows in you.

Until it’s all black.

Then when it is done.

Hopes truth will never come back.

Devotion: 3 Things That We Can Learn from Strongholds

The Soap Opera

I loved watching the Brady Bunch as a kid.  I think every kid in the 70s and 80s watched The Brady Bunch.  There was always some drama going on.  I also used to watch soap operas starting in my teens.  It was one of the many ways my grandmother, Mudear, and I connected.  Some of the stories had you so caught up, that you couldn’t wait till the next day to see what happened.  Praise God that in my 30s, God delivered me from watching those soap operas.  The scenes got to be a little too much at times, and I was totally convicted about needing to give them up.  It’s funny because when one of the scenes came on, my grandmother would say, “Oh shoot!  I wish they would get to the other scene so that I can find out what happened.”  Some of the scenes in the bible play out like a soap opera.  The story that we are going to discuss today, should be sang to the tune of “The Brady Bunch” theme song:  “Here’s the story of a sin called deception……”Strongholds are hard to break and they run through like cancer in our families.  Let’s take a closer look at how the stronghold of deception took place in this particular family.

strongholds, sin, coping mechanism, trauma
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ACT 1:

Isaac and Rebekah had twins: Esau and Jacob.  Esau was Isaac’s favorite, and Jacob was Rebekah’s favorite.  Rebekah decided to pull Jacob into the game of deception so that he could steal Esau’s birthright.  Scene 1 plays out with Rebekah helping Jacob setting up the stew and clothing to trick Isaac.  Scene 2 shows us a distraught Esau, who has missed his blessing.

Scene 1:

Go out to the flocks, and bring me two fine young goats. I’ll use them to prepare your father’s favorite dish. 10 Then take the food to your father so he can eat it and bless you before he dies.”

11 “But look,” Jacob replied to Rebekah, “my brother, Esau, is a hairy man, and my skin is smooth. 12 What if my father touches me? He’ll see that I’m trying to trick him, and then he’ll curse me instead of blessing me.”

13 But his mother replied, “Then let the curse fall on me, my son! Just do what I tell you. Go out and get the goats for me!”

14 So Jacob went out and got the young goats for his mother. Rebekah took them and prepared a delicious meal, just the way Isaac liked it.15 Then she took Esau’s favorite clothes, which were there in the house, and gave them to her younger son, Jacob. 16 She covered his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skin of the young goats. 17 Then she gave Jacob the delicious meal, including freshly baked bread.  Genesis 27:9-17

Scene 2:

As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and almost before Jacob had left his father, Esau returned from his hunt. 31 Esau prepared a delicious meal and brought it to his father. Then he said, “Sit up, my father, and eat my wild game so you can give me your blessing.”

32 But Isaac asked him, “Who are you?”

Esau replied, “It’s your son, your firstborn son, Esau.”

33 Isaac began to tremble uncontrollably and said, “Then who just served me wild game? I have already eaten it, and I blessed him just before you came. And yes, that blessing must stand!”

34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he let out a loud and bitter cry. “Oh my father, what about me? Bless me, too!” he begged.

35 But Isaac said, “Your brother was here, and he tricked me. He has taken away your blessing.”

36 Esau exclaimed, “No wonder his name is Jacob, for now he has cheated me twice. First he took my rights as the firstborn, and now he has stolen my blessing. Oh, haven’t you saved even one blessing for me?” Genesis 27:30-36

ACT 2:

Act 2 plays out in that Jacob leaves his homeland, never to see mommie dearest again.  Instead, he is heading towards her brother’s home, Good, Old, Uncle Laban.  Uncle Laban isn’t as nice as he seems because Jacob makes a deal with him to work seven years for his daughter Rachel.  However, like his sister, Laban is filled with deception.  At the end of the seven years, Laban gives Jacob Leah instead of Rachel.  Leah gets to appear as the passive one, although she fully participated in the scheme, as Jacob did with Rebekah in tricking Isaac.  Scene 1 showed the end result of how this played out.

strongholds, sin, coping mechanism, trauma
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Scene 1:

Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.”

19 “Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.” 20 So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.

21 Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I have fulfilled my agreement,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so I can sleep with her.”

22 So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood and prepared a wedding feast. 23 But that night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24 (Laban had given Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.)

25 But when Jacob woke up in the morning—it was Leah! “What have you done to me?” Jacob raged at Laban. “I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?”

26 “It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied. 27 “But wait until the bridal week is over; then we’ll give you Rachel, too—provided you promise to work another seven years for me.”

28 So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too. 29 (Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.) 30 So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years. Genesis 29: 18-30

strongholds, sin, coping mechanism, trauma
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ACT 3:

Act 3 plays out in that Jacob’s boys are out and about, and Joseph comes in his coat of colors to tell them about his dream.  They decide to do something about daddy’s favorite, but not without deceiving their dad into thinking Joseph is dead.

Scene 1:

When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him. 19 “Here comes the dreamer!” they said. 20 “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!”

strongholds, sin, coping mechanism, trauma
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21 But when Reuben heard of their scheme, he came to Joseph’s rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said. 22 “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father.

23 So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing. 24 Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. 25 Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt.

26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime.27 Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed. 28 So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty piecesd]”>[d] of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.

29 Some time later, Reuben returned to get Joseph out of the cistern. When he discovered that Joseph was missing, he tore his clothes in grief. 30 Then he went back to his brothers and lamented, “The boy is gone! What will I do now?”

31 Then the brothers killed a young goat and dipped Joseph’s robe in its blood. 32 They sent the beautiful robe to their father with this message: “Look at what we found. Doesn’t this robe belong to your son?”

33 Their father recognized it immediately. “Yes,” he said, “it is my son’s robe. A wild animal must have eaten him. Joseph has clearly been torn to pieces!” 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes and dressed himself in burlap. He mourned deeply for his son for a long time. 35 His family all tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “I will go to my grave mourning for my son,” he would say, and then he would weep. Genesis 37: 18-35, NLT

Scene 2:

Scene 2 plays out in that after Joseph is sold as a slave, he is put into high command in Pharaoh’s house.  Pharaoh’s wife falsely accuses him of assault, and Joseph is placed in prison.  Joseph is released from prison after being able to interpret Pharaoh’s dream.  He is promoted just in time to save Egypt from a famine, and wouldn’t you know, his brothers have to come to his town to get food.  Instead of Joseph deceiving and punishing his brothers, he chooses to forgive, and redeem the stronghold of deception.

strongholds, sin, coping mechanism, trauma
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Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace.

“I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.  Genesis 45: 1-8, NLT

strongholds, sin, coping mechanism, trauma
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What does this crazy soap opera of events teach us?

  1.  Strongholds are sin.

Sometimes as Christians we feel that calling something a stronghold makes the sin sound better.  Once we are able to handle the truth that our strongholds are indeed sin, then we are able to start doing something about the sin before it gets out out control.  I struggle with the sin of perfectionism.

     2. Strongholds become coping mechanisms.

I was born with an imprint of trauma on my brain due to slavery from my ancestors, a slavery-style caste system in the South that my family had to endure, and the continuing oppression of slavery “wrapped with a bow” in the city of Chicago.  Trauma has by-products of criticism and perfectionism.  Perfectionism became my coping mechanism.  It has been a part of me since I was a little girl.  However, it is still sin.

    3.  Strongholds are passed down when they are not resolved.

The hardest thing for us to realize is that our sin gets passed down when it isn’t addressed.  God has spoken gently to my heart recently to deal with the sin head on so that my kids can see me walk in this freedom.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  Romans 8: 1, KJV