I was thinking about this today. I can’t remember why. Oh yes, I was listening to Elton John’s “Have Mercy on the Criminal.” Trying to imagine what state one would have to be in to say, “Lord, you gotta help me… I ain’t never gonna sin again… just take these chains from around my legs… sweet Jesus, I’ll be your friend.” (And I don’t mean the state of Georgia) But the words did compel my mind to wander to a dark place like that. The anguished face of a man in chains. I’ve never had to experience such a place, and I’ve no doubt that regardless of the active ability of your imagination, one could not come remotely close to identifying with it. I do know, though, that there are many forms of chains and many who would label us as “criminals” in order to righteously restrain us. Like anyone, I don’t believe that anyone should use the past as a means to gain control over something (or someone) else. But it’s important to realize that there are people walking among us who have been in some serious bondage. And it’s true what Harriet Beecher Stowe said… “A slave will always become a tyrant when he gets the chance.”

I do know oppression. It’s a most terrible thing. But in the end of it all… I would rather choose not to be a tyrant. And I would rather choose to be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. We are all guilty and have no cause to set ourselves above others. So, in the words of Plato,

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

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