Some folks see a golden necklace with sparkling links. But others see chains as cruel symbols of enslavement. History records thousands of inhumane acts of enslavement. A review of history is about real people whose lives were oppressive, whose chains were heavy, whose slavery was permanent. We remember their lives with a sense of shame and we honor them with genuine repentance.
But we must also bring the reality of chains closer to home as we recall the times of our lives that held us in chains. Serious illnesses. Violent relationships. Troubled children. Careers that became personal enslavement. No, the chains that bound us were not made of steel. Instead, they were chains that bound our very being, holding us fast, oppressing our spirits.
In all of this, there is hope. It is the hope of God’s grace that empowers us to break free. I am reminded of one of my favorite Scripture passages.
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.
– Galatians 5:1, New International Version
Of one thing I am certain. God does not desire for us a life of enslavement, but graces us with the courage to free ourselves from all that holds us hostage. Life in Christ is not a life of chains. It is a life of freedom to live, to love, and to thrive. Though we may have been hurt by circumstances that left us in chains, our souls can never be chained.
Laurie Halse Anderson writes this in her brilliant novel series, Chains: Seeds of America.
She cannot chain my soul. Yes, she could hurt me. She’d already done so . . . I would bleed, or not. Scar, or not. Live, or not. But she could not hurt my soul, not unless I gave it to her.
Please listen to a beautiful arrangement of “Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone” sung by Noteworthy. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=X6Mtpk4jeVA