Powerlessness is not something that a lot of us want to ever admit to being. Even though, many of us have gone through moments in our lives where we were absolutely powerless over a situation. Be it facing a loved one laying in an ICU room and not knowing whether they’ll ever wake up. Or, that diagnosis the doctor gave that we just have no control over and no way to make better. Sometimes, it’s not even that heavy or severe; maybe it’s a different pang of powerlessness. For example, maybe it is seeing your child contend with bullies and being helpless to fix it for them. Or, maybe it is seeing people you love make the biggest mistake of their life.
At some point in our lives, we’ll all experience feeling powerlessness in some way. For some of us it’ll be when we realize how others talk about us behind our backs. Add social media into the mix and the next thing you know anyone with an axe to grind can just put you on blast for your entire world to break out the Michael Jackson-eating-popcorn-memes. Sadly, in instances like that you may not even know what’s going on until either someone has the heart to fill you in or maybe to find out by sheer happenstance. Unfortunately, doxing is the new wave of bullying in our society; and as horrible as it is, it ranks right up there alongside of revenge porn, which is even worse. A recent article noted that people caught in the horrific ordeal of human trafficking are being filmed now and uploaded to a certain porn site which is in part due to the 42 billion visitors a year and the over-all high demand for revenge-porn.
Let that sink in. I have had this article in my head now for days. People are being exploited as sex slaves, filmed and uploaded to porn sites because somewhere along the line it became trendy to upload pictures and videos of ex’s with the intent to cause them distress and embarrassment. This is all happening because there is a 42 billion visitor, six hundred million video a year demand for this sort of content. Now, it is easy to feel the hurt when we are the one who is being done wrong. But, what about the hurt and powerlessness that the ladies sold into that life must feel? What about their parents? All because somehow exacting revenge on someone in such a manner became trendy.
That is an extreme case of how something seriously crappy can snowball into something extremely heinous. However, it’s as my mentor once told me, all it takes is being off one degree in the ocean, and you will completely miss the island you are sailing toward.
So far I have only really looked at our being powerless over what is happening to us or to others. What about being powerless over that which is happening within us? Take the above example for a moment, on the other side of the screen there are people clicking links that will take them to a site to see whatever will satisfy their lust—are they not showing that they are powerless to control their own impulses? There are two sides to that whole situation. Clearly there’s an addiction somewhere with 42 billion visits a year.
Personally, I know there have been many instances where I lacked power over what was happening to me but the same is true of the times when I was powerless to keep myself from doing the same ol’ stupid thing for the umpteenth time. I can’t tell you how often I’ve felt: “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:18) If we are all being objective, all of us can relate to that on some level. We may justify it in our own way, but sin is sin; it is still rooted in our old sinful nature just the same.
Whether I am saying: just one more glass of wine; just one more pic via SnapChat; just one more bowl hit; or just one more beer. Just one more... whatever it is or has been for you! Be it pills. Be it money. Be it even food. Or, be it the validation from getting likes by way of a selfie. Or, maybe it is that guy that’s dogging you out; or it’s that girl that’s running you into the dirt—we all have something or someone that we are powerless over. For some of us it is our desire to fit in and our need to feel approval; for others it is our desire to escape and our need to feel nothing.
Point is that most of us don’t even realize we have a problem. That is why Principle One and Step One are huge. We have to step out of denial, realize that we are not God, see that we are powerless to control our tendency to do the wrong thing and that our life—on some level—is unmanageable. Because, believe this, if you are dipping out of the room to check your Snap so nobody else sees, or you’re hiding and lying about what you’re eating, or you’re blowing smoke through a paper towel roll stuffed with dryer sheets…how manageable is any of that really?
People talk about how a smokers life revolves around cigarettes. When I smoked cigarettes, I know mine did. There’s a truth to that. After I gave up cigarettes it was the vape. I had to vape. That was so bad, I had one malfunction and blow up in my pocket while drumming. (Needless to say, I am grateful that God granted me the ability to quit. Powerless no more!) But, many of us who look down on smokers have our own addictions that we are powerless to control, they just aren’t as visible, and some are so strong that we can’t even step out of denial to see it for ourselves!
So, the question is this…how powerless have you become over the various sin-issues in your life? Are you in control when you pass judgement on somebody and you don’t even know all the facts? Do you wield power over your own tongue when you gossip about someone? What about being in control and having power over whether or not you are telling the truth? Let’s also not forget whether you are telling it in love, or from vindictiveness? Yes, this even applies to those that we feel have it coming to them, those that deserve to be put out on front street with all of their stuff called out in the process. Part of examining our own stuff with the principles and the steps at the forefront of our minds, is to remember the first four words of Principle One…Realize I’m not God. It’s not our job to play God. It’s not our job to do what Christ will do at the Final Judgement. Our job is to love to God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love our neighbors as ourselves! How can we do any of that if we are casting shade from the tree growing out of our own eye?
I know these are tough questions to examine and answer when we are looking strictly in the mirror. However, doing so is certainly worth it. Ultimately, God is the one that we will have to give an account to. For me, I find it better to do it on this side of eternity rather than wait to do it on the other.
Until Next Time,