I took a wet paper towel and wiped off the collecting pollen before pressing the black sticker onto the shiny red paint of my car. I lined it up with my license plate, hoping it would stick straight. I smoothed out a bubble or two and stood back to look at it.
If you haven't seen any red X's around town or on tv today, or if you have and didn't know what they were for, they're for the EndItMovement. End what? End slavery.
There are more than 27 million people on Earth right now who are slaves.
What is that like? To live in bondage to another person's will and desires?
It is possible to live in bondage without physical ropes tying up your wrists and ankles.
The definition of bondage is "a state of subjection to a force, power, or influence."
Many of us live out our daily lives under the influence of something else. For some of you it may be insecurity that prevents you from engaging with other people, seeking out a different job opportunity, or following a dream.
For others it might be lies that you've been told. They told you that you weren't smart enough, so you're afraid to share your opinion or idea, after all they told you that you weren't smart, so it probably isn't a good one anyway.
Maybe it's your appearance. No one ever tells you that you're beautiful or attractive or notices the attention you took while getting ready this morning. You don't have "the right body." Why would anyone love you?
Maybe it's an addiction. You know a guy who's brother sells weed for pretty cheep... The alcohol numbs the anxiety, the depression, the loneliness. You've tried to leave it before, but nothing makes you feel like the drugs do...
Maybe it's what's happened to you. The abuse, the neglect, the trauma... The consequences you've had to endure because of what someone else did to you.
These are just a couple of examples of things that hold us in bondage- things that control how we live our lives.
I got to visit with my friend Nati this evening. We're both recent transplants to Arkansas who share a desire to introduce children to Christ. She shared with me some of the situations many of the children at the AR Dream Center are experiencing. It broke my heart to hear about children, little children, who've been violated, who've been lied to, who don't feel like they are loved...
And it hit home in a way it hasn't before... it's not just the slaves who need freedom from bondage, it's all of us. Every single one of us has at one time or another lived under the control of something else.
I lived in fear for two years: the fear of triggers, fear of abduction, and fear of physical violation controlled me. For two years I believed the lie that I was damaged and a burden to those around me.
I remember the moment when the fear lost it's control over me. Even remembering it now, the sunshine pouring through the front windshield of the suburban, the market place to my right, Hector holding a granola bar to my left... Tears come to my eyes when I remember the moment I was freed.
If your chains haven't fallen off yet, they can. Right now. Jesus died for us so that we don't have to live in bondage.
"The thief does not come except to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10
Living in bondage doesn't equate to living life more abundantly.
Let's be part of the voice that helps bring an end to the bondage of slavery. But, let's also be sure we're not actually living in bondage ourselves.