Updated: Jun 25
by Jon Reeverts
"If you can't see the problem, you can't fix it!"
Crisis can reveal a lot of things. Returning from or recovering from a meltdown may reveal even more. Heap greater injustice on the pile after a mind bending lockdown and when the push is on, what I put my time, energy and faith in gets tested. For many of us, it’s now showing up in more ways than we could have imagined as we get glimpses of chaos or our new normal.
This might become a series of several blogs that explore this reality.
The first is on “society.”
I will run the intro with each blog so that readers don’t have to return to a previous blog to see where this topic is grounded.
In our Engage Conference and in Advanced Training we discuss a formula, which is applicable in every aspect of life, that shows:
[Stress/Time = Our functional Source of Life]. Or put another way:
Put a person under mounting pressure for an extended period of time, and you will see their true colors - their functional source of life - what they attempt to squeeze life out of - or, what they depend on to give their lives meaning.
Examining Stress/Time could be a good thing or a bad thing. One thing is for sure, it will test the load-bearing capacity of that person, their belief, and their mode of operation. When you LOAD TEST things you discover flaws, or reveal breaking points and therefore can evaluate the condition, quality or even the solutions used to deal with the load.
Forty-five years ago, I took a class called the “Strength of Materials” during my freshman year of high school at Brooklyn Tech (An engineering-specific high school). I can still recall learning about materials that were brittle or flexible, those things that were resilient, those that had to be shored-up by being fused to or with other materials, and I learned that there was a moment when the load proved too much for the material or the construction.
If a definition helps, then a layman’s source Wikipedia sums it up this way, “Strength of materials, also called mechanics of materials, deals with the behavior of solid objects subject to stresses and strains and the response of a structure under loading and its susceptibility to various failure modes.”
Our daily crises have ”load tested” our lives.
For some of us, it has repeatedly tested our patience, family structures, and marriages.
For others it is testing long-standing friendships - some are literally going up in flames.
Clashes over how to respond to civil and societal wrongs like discrimination have us reeling.
If the COVID issue still exists, for many it certainly has revealed a boatload of issues with our physical health, and it has exposed the fragility of aging in America.
Heaviness pervades every thought here. I listened to the opening statements of the House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Police Reform. It’s a difficult time, explosive with emotion to hear things wrestled with in such formal discussion, yet hard, honest realities were put on the table.
George Floyd’s death lit a firestorm of emotion about the sanctity of life - Black Lives Matter. His death amplified the injustices of generation upon generation. It called to light the harsh realities of an America that has not arrived at Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s “Dream”.
Even in 2020, America has failed at legislating, teaching, and creating racial equality and respect.
Fringe groups have jumped on the wave of emotion and ridden it to new heights, in essence, robbing the spotlight of Mr. Floyd’s death, to bring any kind of hope in sustaining change. Instead, CHAZ and the “Summer of Love” conflict in Seattle has shifted the media from harboring any real design for racial change. The LOAD is being shifted to test a different load capacity.
Probably... social media giants, political parties and professional sports enterprises and celebrities will fund and rally to their version of the cause, but those squeaking wheels can garners the attention, and syphon off the fire to handle this crisis as a nation.
If COVID pressed down on our lives for three months in isolation lockdown with nothing but our thoughts, the thoughts of others, and distraction, can a shifting away from George Floyd’s death to Antifa or other protests expect to accomplish lasting change?
All this returns to the sanctity of life - whose lives matter?
The Declaration of Independence declares, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….”
Oddly, the America our founders created acknowledged that we are created equal, and then they created a system that allowed us to become unequal. Our evolving history has shown that we have moved from being born into a rigid social, economic, or educated class. We can rise. We’ve watched it, celebrated it, glorified it and worshiped it.
The biggest issue here is not the struggle between factions that want to bring societal egalitarianism to replace equality. It is the hypocrisy of rallying behind the cries for the sanctity of life, when as a society, long ago, we entertained deciding, “When do lives matter to us?”
This issue is wrestled with in this NY Times article:
It is clear that so many more lives will be lost in the black community and other minority communities than we can even conceive, and that there is a blind eye in this area of the current movement.
A video I posted on March 27, on the topic of “WORTH” (before any of the societal meltdown occurred) gets to the heart of this issue. The essence is how God created and defines us, not how our constitutions create or define us. Society can attempt to repair, rectify, legislate and demand equality, but these are outside/in attempts to deal with an overload that can only be dealt with from within.
The current sentiment stems from being a victim. Almost everyone can relate to this issue. At one time or another we were taken advantage of, we were used, abused, discarded, devalued and hurt - we may have experienced a family history of discrimination or an entire history of inequity. Yet, about now, someone will scream, “Don’t lump my pain in with everyone else’s experience!
Your pain will never equal my pain!!!, shouts the victim.
Nothing from outside can soothe the victim. No amount of money, no amount of sympathy, empathy, understanding or time. The victim will never be soothed until the victimizer is destroyed - but even then, it’s too little, too late, too short of justice.
How do I know this? Because the Bible makes it clear that justice and punishment or revenge is not satisfying. The hole in our heart from loss of love, acceptance and worth cannot be filled from outside of the Life of Jesus Christ. (See John 15)
The current torrent of emotions from either side of this issue stem from justifying its stance. But if we are only going to look through the lens of social justice, or civil rights, or economic equality, or educational opportunity, we will watch the load grow, the material split, fracture and collapse, because our worldly answer or solution can never bear the load.
This is the breaking point where anyone who is dwelling/living/camping in victimitis opts out.
See, either we are going to confront the hurt inside us or we are going to ride it to our death bed, clenching our fist at God and others, screaming with our last breath, “IT’S NOT FAIR - YOU’RE NOT FAIR - I HATE YOU!”
And the light goes out with our last gasp.
That’s a far different picture of bearing the load than Jesus hanging on a cross, unjustly crucified, bearing all our iniquities, bruised for our transgressions and broken for our sins, gasping, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And instead of extinguishing the light, He gave the light, then made us light as we accepted the gift through His resurrection.
Again, we cannot sustain our own ability to cope with that picture of guilt to bring peace or healing to others, if we don’t understand how we were created, designed or defined by our God (See WORTH) we will fall short of any kind of peace.
Every societal fault, wrong, historic mistake was built on a material that was not capable of bearing the load. However, it’s the brokenness that leads us to seek answers.
I can’t speak for you, I can only speak from my experience.
For the past ten years I have fought against victimitis and the voice on the threshold of my mind screaming, “It’s not fair to deal with cancer!” My hurts are different from other peoples’ hurts! My limits are amplified compared to theirs and my future holds less promise than theirs!
That kind of thinking is debilitating, useless and unprofitable. What a waste.
Instead, it’s been my hurts and the fellowship of His suffering that has led me closer to my Lord and His Life (See John 15:4-5) I cannot find a solution from the outside/in. In that respect, my situation is the same as the rest of humanity. All of us deal with this battle. Examine your own sufferings to see if it did not invite the same conversation with Jesus.
What I do know is that, for me, with the Life of Jesus Christ in me, the power of sin is no longer my master and its voice has no authority in my life. That voice will not bend or break me, because my foundation, my rock, my shield, my defender and my supplier is the God of the universe.
Sidenote: If you like screaming guitars and power rock, you can watch this video by Disciple (Dear X: You Don’t Own Me) speak to that truth. Of course, if screaming rock guitars disturb or offend you, ... don’t watch the video.
If you skipped the video, the point remains that, as a believer in Jesus Christ, your hurts, wounds and personal exasperation are all part of your past. But He has given you a new past and a new future through His eternal life. Our resurrected life is a new life that focuses on His power, His healing, His peace, and His new Life in us. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Examine the load you are under right now. Examine the stress it is exacting on the fibers you are currently depending on. Ask yourself if you want to live in either camp - the victim or victimizer,
OR… if you want to experience freedom.
(See Galatians 5:1)
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”