Scapegoat Mentality

pexels-photo-1054422.jpegBack in Biblical times there was a sacrificial animal called the “scapegoat”. When the Levite priests did ceremony to cleanse the people of sins, the sins were symbolically placed into the animal and then it was sent out into the wilderness. It ran off carrying the sins of the people with it.

In modern days, the scapegoat is a person who ends up taking the punishment for the wrongdoings or the sins of others. This hardly seems fair, but it happens all of the time, especially in families. One would think this would be the last place this would happen but it does, and usually behind closed doors. It also happens in places of business, in schools, and other places. I believe I have even watched this happen online as well.

Wherever people gather, there is a tendency to be someone around who has to press down others in order to feel better about themselves. The pressed down one is usually the lonely one who bears the pain that has been placed upon them. It’s a sad situation, and very heartbreaking.

If we were to look at humanity as one that we need to find balance within, this push and shove really does not make a lot of sense. There is only an illusion of one who gets to be the winner of the game and the one who is pressed down. Truthfully, in an unbalanced situation like this, neither of them win.

Fear, creates scapegoats. Someone begins to think or believe they are powerful and out of their fear that they are not, they need someone to press down to relieve that fear. The hard thing is nothing is ever truly relieved so the actions might keep going on. Usually the ones who are the most empathetic are the ones who end up being walked upon. They find themselves pushed down in the pecking order at their jobs. They have no voice because their own fear causes them to stop speaking up for themselves.

When Jesus went to the cross, He took upon Himself the punishment of everyone’s sin and then He left this world carrying our burdens. This grace is meant to release us from the sting of sin and death. We have no bondage in the eyes of God and there is none who is greater than the other.

Do you ever find yourself wishing that people would just see the value in themselves so they don’t feel the need to emotionally, physically, or mentally batter others to try to help them create the illusion they are greater? I pray for this revelation for people all of the time. Every time I hear a broken heart, feel one, or know of one, I know that somewhere out there is a person who is using that brokenness for their freedom. It really should not be so.

If we find ourselves being pressed down or taken advantage of, maybe it is time to create balance and speak the truth and walk away from those who would have them be their scapegoat. There is no one on earth that deserves to take a beating for someone else’s attempt at finding some form of power. Jesus took that beating and we are all free. We don’t need to have faith in the truth to make it true but it does help to have it. It’s still true none the less. It’s history.

I had to dig deep for this one because the idea of the scapegoat is more than someone being a bully over someone else. It is a condition where shame and deep feelings of inadequacy happen over periods of time. I’ve witnessed someone taking a beating for someone else. It’s almost just as painful to be the witness.

Tonight I have a deep sadness in my spirit as I think of those I have known who have been stuck taking the rap for others. They have been beaten down, locked up, emotionally broken, spiritually stricken and soulfully scarred. I can close my eyes and almost feel the painfulness of this type of condition.

If only, if only, there can be a balancing of humanity that makes this impossible to ever happen. It was meant to create the needed balance when Jesus died on the cross. We were meant to find ourselves in the bonds of oneness, in a holy union, sharing the power of the blood He shed on the cross for us all.

Can we ever find that place Jesus prayed for us to find? Can we balance the human scales in life and see one another as equal and not as someone we must be on top of, win over, press down, or beat at the race?

This blog post has a bit of a sadness to it. I apologize for that reality. I can’t help but close my eyes, though, and dream of what it would be like if everyone would just understand. We never make it anywhere without one another. Being on the top of others is only an illusion and eventually that prideful heart will have to fall. So, the beater never prospers and the one who presses down never really hits the top before they fall to the pit.

It’s the one’s who have taken the beating who will arise. It might not be today, or even tomorrow, but it will happen. When it does, their light will shine as brightly as the morning sunshine. At that moment they will realize it has all been an illusion for them as well and that God has always cupped His hands, holding them in place for the moment they understand just how beautiful they have always been.

Loving you from here

Dr. Jenine Marie Howry

 

 

Are You Depressed About the Coming Holidays?

downloadWe are approaching that time of year where the festive commercials come on with the picture of families all together before tables filled with food, laughter, and smiles. We are also entering the Christmas zone when we all will face the bombarding of advertisements tempting us to buy certain gifts for family members and the latest greatest toys available to intrigue our children.

I remember those days when I was younger. The anticipation of food, gifts, tree lights, and new warm slippers. It all paints a pretty picture. Of course this year things are a bit different because a lot of us have been warned that to say “Merry Christmas” violates some human rights. I’m pretty sure that is not true, but for some reason that is what part of our country wants to present this year. I imagine the commercials will take on a new feel as “Happy Holidays” will take over. Unfortunately this will not change much about the holy celebrations that are about to take place. The very word “holiday” means “holy day”.

I want to get to my point before I get off on a tangent about the renaming of Christmas! As a look back upon our annual celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus, there have been amazing times and those which were filled with grief and depression. For instance, the first Christmas after my son went to heaven was one I wish I could have avoided. For many, the upcoming holidays are just reminders of what we are missing instead of what we have. I would love to turn it around for you all and tell you to focus on what you are grateful for. While this is the best practice, I also know there are seasons when we are grateful but there are also circumstances when there can be deep sadness.

Not every elderly person has family around. Not every child looks forward to gifts with a gleam in their eyes. Some service men and women are far away from their loved ones and would give anything for just the gift of a hug this season. Being far from loved ones is  a hard thing to face. Along with the holy part of the holidays we turn our faces to God, the one who made us and keeps us through every day of every year. In the face of sadness, depression, loneliness, and separation, we are confronted with a love that comes from heaven that begs to heal us. There are some pains that all the alcohol, pills, well wishes, far away phone calls, and sparkling gifts will not heal or even appease.

Before I get you into a downer here, I have to say this is hard enough to write let alone know it will come across negative, but it is truth. Not everyone will have a “Happy New Year” celebration. For those who are hurting, its almost like a triple cocktail of unwanted reminders that something is just not right this season. If this is YOU, then my heart reaches for you. I’ve been there, I know that achy feeling deep inside that won’t stop nagging that something hurts beyond anyone’s control. If this is YOU, God’s heart also reaches for you. He understands the feelings of loss and the grief that comes from being alone, lost, angry, hurt, rejected, less than feeling blessed.

I am awake very early in the morning writing this, so I know that God is already concerned for you. His heart is with you and He wants to ease your distress with the comfort of His Holy Spirit. He is called “the comforter” and He completely understands. Remember that baby Jesus was born in a barn, was different than everyone around Him, was scorned by His own family members, was taunted by religious law leaders, was hated by those who feared what He might change, was misrepresented by those who thought He was here to start a revolution, was betrayed by one He dearly loved, was murdered by those who misunderstood Him. Still today, this world begs to push Him away; to keep Him even out of the celebration of His own birth. Maybe they can’t find his birth certificate. (Ok, that one was bad, lol).

If the upcoming holy days are already beginning to tax your heart, I want you to know you are not alone. Not only is Jesus with you, and all, but there are those who care about your difficult struggle during a time that should be a blessed celebration with those we love. Be assured that Jesus has been near you all year long and will remain through any of your days. He will never forsake you and He completely understands your pain and depressive moments.

If you are reading this and already know that you are one who will be needing someone to talk to, please know you have someone you can put a voice to. You can call my toll free number and please leave a message for a call back for a talk and prayer session if there is no immediate answer. I WILL get back to you. Depression and sadness should not have to happen during the holidays, but it is NORMAL when it does. We are human; all of us.

For talk/prayer call 800-421-1765. You don’t even have to wait for the holidays to come. You can start now if you need to. Life is HARD but it is so much harder when faced alone  feeling no one understands. I can tell you this though. It will be ok. Whatever it is you face might be hurtful, might cause depression, might feel lonely, but it will be ok. This too shall pass. I admire your strength, your tenacity, your ability to be resilient, and I honor your pain for whatever reason it might be haunting you.

Don’t forget to call. It WILL help. I love you to heaven and back! (Something I tell my children).

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

800-421-1765