Meditations by John Dean

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Spirit of Popeye

(Gen 16:6 KJV) But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her face. 

I have read our text many times over the years and each time I read it I seem to come to the same conclusion. My conclusion is that even though Sarai had the right to treat her maid Hagar the way she did, I believe she was completely out of line by doing so.

There is a big difference between expecting the best of someone under your authority and abusing them. Sarai abused Hagar to the point that she would rather run away and face the dangers of the world than the abuse of Sarai.

No one has the right to abuse another regardless of the circumstances. I have seen wives so abused by their husbands that they became almost slave-like. Some may have wanted to run away like Hagar, but their minds were locked up by their abuser as if they were in jail. Therefore they stayed and died a little on the inside with each time they experienced abuse.

I have also seen children abused physically and mentally by one or both the point that some were marked for life. The body may be capable of healing itself from the physical scars of abuse, but only the Lord can heal the mental scars of abuse. Unless one is mentally healed by the Lord they are not only fragile themselves, but they are prime candidates to become mental abusers of their own children. This abuse is usually done in moments of rage, but then camouflaged under the disguise of “strong godly discipline,” when in fact it is mental abuse.

Employees may be abused by their employer through intimidation, and many leave their jobs because they cannot stand the pressure.

I have even seen pastors control some members of their congregation to the point that those members believe if they leave the church they will be out of God’s will and maybe even go to hell. This is not just abuse, it is also a form of spiritual witchcraft.

There are many things that can drive a person away and abuse is certainly one of those things.

My own mother suffered extreme abuse when she remarried after my father died in 1938. I was three years old when dad died. At that time the whole country was still reeling from the great depression as well as facing World War II. The man that mom married was an extreme abuser and alcoholic and beat mom regularly when he came home drunk.

When I was twelve years old I decided to do as Hagar did and run away from home. Today I shudder to think about a twelve year old boy being on his own, but at the time I figured anything was better than what I was experiencing at home, so I left. I kept running until I met someone a couple of hundred miles away who wanted me to stay with them.

There is a famous cartoon character named Popeye that I have always liked. One of his favorite sayings when he was fed up with something was, “That’s all I can stands I can’t stands no more.” He would then grab a can of spinach and squeeze it hard until the top of the can popped open and he would gulp down the spinach and his muscles would start popping out. When that happened the enemy was defeated and all injustice was made right.

I, like Popeye, also said to myself, “That’s all I can stands I can’t stands no more,” and left. However, the only one who can really make injustice right is the Lord, so we need to always call on Him so He can help in abusive situations.

Help us all to be defenders of the abused and healers of the wounded. Dear Lord you set the example for us, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;” (Isa 61:1 KJV) Let it be so Lord.

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