Here is something that I have come to realise; it is important to keep in mind that the “NEWS” is first and foremost, a business, secondly, it’s entertainment, and lastly, it’s somewhat informative. The news is no longer in business to inform the public; it’s in business for the sake of business—to be profitable! Now, there’s nothing wrong with making a profit and being a successful business, but when it comes to the news we have to be aware of what is motivating the content we are consuming! Do not allow media businesses, who are, in their own right, turning a profit, to define and distort your perception of what is really happening in the world! Beyond that, do not permit them to paint the full picture in your mind of who world leaders truly are, or what they’ve actually said on any given topic. Drama sells and most media outlets will perpetually prioritise conflict, contention, and competition over telling you the truth. Entertainment drives ratings, ratings determine the price of ads, and ads are the way the media business makes money! Furthermore, in the last ten years, this pressure to create conflict and sensationalism has caused opinionated journalism to take the place of actual reporting! Some journalists are not reporting the news anymore. Instead, they are reporting their opinion of the news. No longer are media outlets reporting the facts of what actually happened in any situation. They are now tasked with storytelling in order to drive entertainment, along with helping people decide what to think about events! Therefore, we must now approach and process the information we are receiving from “news outlets” and “media voices” with a greater level of discernment, as most news is actually more about the commentator’s opinion than it is about the facts that took place in any given situation. While all this remains true, as followers of Christ and Kingdom-dwellers we are still empowered to stay in peace, even in a conflict-driven storm and media drama. Keep these truths in mind: God’s perspective. There is another perspective on the news outside of what is presented to you by the media, and that’s the Kingdom perspective. The Kingdom perspective is seeing events through God’s eyes. God’s plan. He is the X-factor, the Hope of the Nations, and He is King of Kings. As Solomon said, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (Proverbs 21:1) Prayer. History is shaped by those who pray, not those who worry. God’s promise. All things work together for good IN THE END for those who love God. Therefore, if it’s not good, it’s not the end. The real battleground. Our battle is not against flesh and blood (it’s not against people). Our warfare is against principalities who manipulate people for the sake of demonic agendas. Being angry with individuals, people groups or government entities plays into the hands of demonic strategies whose only desire is to destroy all humans. The devil does not vote for a party, he is a true hater! A hater of humanity, a hater of women, a hater of men, a hater of every ethnic group and every human who was ever birthed from a woman! By holding onto these Kingdom realities, we can guard our peace, remain informed and live with heaven’s perspective on the world!
Our choices always cost someone something, even if we try and hide it. Sin always impact others, even if we do not realise it. Sin breeds a myriad of effects that go far beyond the individual who is stuck in bondage! For example, if a husband is stuck in secret sin, it can be extremely common for the wife to play the protector of the family role and try to “be strong for everyone.” But what ends up happening when the man takes the journey of healing from hidden sin and getting free from his bondage? The wife may realise that she has her own pain to work through from bearing the weight of her husband’s sin! Keep reading and you’ll see that very often this is a journey of 2 or more people getting well together. And hear me on this—the kind of bondage I’m talking about is not just relegated to pornography; it’s also about alcoholism, work addiction, or any place where you try to hide your pain. If you think it is not that bad, read the following story. Betsy Jacobs is an author, speaker, and life-coach and her story is one I hope many of you will glean freedom from. Check out this incredibly raw and real story of a wife who was left in the wake of her husband’s addiction to pornography, and how God intervened to heal them. ________________________________________ On our one year wedding anniversary, my husband introduced me to porn. While I was slicing up the top tier of our wedding cake that had been so perfectly preserved just for this occasion, he was planning to invite me in on an addiction that he’d held secret since childhood. What became of our marriage in the following years after that night was a literal nightmare. In my book, Awakening Your Prophetic Voice, I described our marriage like this: “At the time, my husband was an ordained youth pastor who self-medicated with pornography. He was more than a little bitter, at times suicidal, and though he was an excellent provider his tendencies were to ‘stuff and puff.’ On the verge of an emotional breakdown, he stuffed his pain and then it came out in huff-and-puff rages that were emotional terror attacks. I, myself, was more of a ‘shove and unplug’ type—a full-blown hidden stash of junk food in every room, an emotional binge eater who used food like a cutter uses a razor blade.” This is the sanitized version of what our life was. When my husband was Jekyll and Hydeing it, I was smiling and saying all the right things, hopeful it would work itself out but emotionally deferred in every possible way. When he came clean and confessed to our family and friends that he needed help, I smiled and supported, again, but I was far from okay. It’s a conflicting experience to spend years fighting to protect a relationship from the very person you are in a relationship with, but his breakthrough had been my sole prayer for years and now it was here. As I watched others console and comfort my husband during his healing process, truthfully I grew angrier by the day. I felt as if I had been abandoned in the proverbial graveyard that he dragged me to and he never once stopped to notice if I had walked out of that living hell with him. I hadn’t. It’s truly hard to understand the complexities of why women stick by, protect, or even enable a relationship in the height of dysfunction unless you’ve walked through it. Note: I’m not endorsing or condoning women to stay in a situation that is unhealthy, I’m just acknowledging those that do. I believe, right now, there are many women who are living out exactly what I’m describing. To all the women who’ve embraced the hand of hope while standing in the long-casted shadows of a spouse’s secret shame, I’m embracing your hand now. You’re not alone. In an effort to not disrupt his healing process, and mostly because I was emotionally numb and had lost my voice, I didn’t share with him the pain I was in…until the day I did. One unexpecting day all the words, every word, came out. I don’t remember what triggered this vomit of fury but it wasn’t pretty! I’ll never forget looking into my husband’s eyes. Expecting he’d become defensive and revert back to old bullying tactics that admittedly I hadn’t seen in a long while, his eyes softened and he listened. The freedom that radiated from his countenance felt arrogant to my bruised and battered heart. Somewhere in between the exhaustive screams and the hot tears, my husband told me that I needed to tell someone my side of the story, I needed to share all the ugly details. Did he mean telling about the time I found him huddled up in the garage cutting up his arms, threatening suicide while our babies were fast asleep inside? What about the dozens of times I stole his phone and spent hours in the middle of the night manically tracing his digital footprint knowing all I would discover was an utter disappointment. I wonder if he wanted me to share about the time he discovered I was contemplating divorcing him through a texting conversation with an old high school boyfriend…were these the details he wanted me to share? It might as well have been Jesus standing across from me telling me to take heart, come out of hiding and not to be afraid, but it was God’s redemptive miracle that it was my husband who was standing in front of me. This was when I realised that it would not be devotion to a doctrine that would save my marriage. It wouldn’t be the grin and bear it terror that optimistic delusion conflicts, rather it was his swift action to enrol us in marital counselling and his full support for me to write openly about my experiences in those early years of our marriage that has healed our relationship so greatly. My husband and I recently spent eight days in Spain celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary. It was glorious! Our story is one of hope and committed friendship, but if you were to glean anything from our story I’d hope it would be seeing the difference between having true hope in times of hardships versus being deceived by optimistic delusion. In the first seven years of our marriage, I used religious rhetoric to affirm my inaction and avoidance to allow inexcusable behaviour. I placated any and all negativity and was optimistic that things would change, eventually. What I’ve come to learn is that true hope not only can envision what a better day will look like, but it empowers you to take action presently. True hope is acknowledging what can be done today as it’s taking responsibility for the future. Optimistic delusion, on the other hand, can envision a better day but it deflects responsibility and places it in a future circumstance or in the future potential of a person. This all-talk-and no-action way of living is painfully disempowering, enables unhealthy behaviours, and always defers the abundant life God has gifted you for a later day in time. As it states in James Chapter 2, faith without works is dead; faith being the substance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). If you find the hope of your relationship deferred to a future circumstance that never seems to come, and you are heartsick from the disappointment that delusion brings, then I’m encouraging you to snap out of it! Stop invalidating the warning signs and speak up! Don’t make decisions in your pain but do seek wise counsel—share all the dirty details. This will be a guiding light out of the graveyard that delusion has you stuck in. Know this: you have a sound mind in spite of your pain, you have a voice in spite of the shame. God’s peace will be always be found when you begin to actively take hold of the gift that is your life. This story is meant to give insight into the unforeseen effects hidden sin. Protect the ones you love and do not give ground for hidden sin.
We are all born into a specific context, defined by race, gender, family structure, financial means, world view and the list goes on. We have no control over any of these factors, but instead of seeing this as limiting, consider for a moment the responsibility your context gives you Have you ever wondered why Moses had to be raised in the palace? Why could he not be raised with his own family? A man who is in slavery internally cannot free people who are in slavery externally. It was necessary for Moses to be raised as a prince so that he could free My people. Growing up in the palace gave Moses the character traits he needed to lead a movement. For example, when he saw his brothers being mistreated, he immediately jumped to action. Because of this royal upbringing, he responded to injustice as if it was his own responsibility. He knew that the things that occurred in the Kingdom had a direct pull on his influence and responsibility. I think we can learn a lot from Moses’ story. When we live close to the palace we begin to perceive injustice differently than if we lived removed from royalty. When we are raised up in our royal identities, we move to action when we see injustice. As sons and daughters of God, we must take up the responsibility of our royalty and start responding to the injustices we see in our world today. This is not only our call, but it is our nature. There are so many issues to choose from for us; poverty, gender based violence, racial tension, state capture, rape comes to mind. These are real issues staring us in the face as a country and the question is whose responsibility it is to address these and other issues, or the issues facing your specific context. The common expectation is that someone or something else, in our context more often than not government should do something about whatever the issue is. The problem is that usually the expectation removes us from the solution. When God first appeared to Moses He said to Moses, “ I have heard the prayers of My people and seen their oppression, therefore I send you.” (Exodus 3:9-10) God is not oblivious or distant to the troubles that face us, but He is in need of people who would be willing to act like His sons and daughters, taking responsibility for an issue. He has heard, but He wants to send you and me. As royalty, it matters to us what happens in our kingdom. So I urge you to take a moment now, close your eyes, and ask Holy Spirit how you can play a part in seeing change in our world on this subject. Once he speaks, write down what you hear and commit yourself to action.