Written by Micki Ann Harris | ChattHOP Staff
We were just a few months into navigating like sleepwalkers through a living nightmare.
Our son in law had just been successfully seduced into a legitimate cult.
The fun, loving, attentive husband to our daughter, and new father to their 6 month old baby girl, had walked out; yes, packed his bag and left, determining to go after this “pearl of great price” no matter the cost. He wasn’t evil. He was spiritually hungry, longing for like-minded community, and bearing unhealed wounds — all making him vulnerable to tactics of “love-bombing” and mind control. Our hearts were shattered, and we were stunned and swirling.
These events make for a long story, but this blog is about four words spoken in the midst of bereavement that shook us from sorrow’s stupor, gave deep validation and comfort, and offered a hand of rescue from the magnetic mire of resignation.
All that I described above was taking place during the same time frame as the birthing and establishing of ChattHOP. During one of the early planning meetings, a team from another house of prayer came to encourage us regarding this new work we were putting our hands to in the city and to offer wisdom and support based on their own experience.
I was with my husband, our daughter and her baby, and a few others as we assembled into small groups to pray. Ironically we were within a stone’s throw of the location from which the cult operates, which provoked a discussion about the recent events in our personal lives.
Upon hearing a very brief summary of our story, a young woman from the visiting team, moved with deep empathy and appropriate indignation, responded emphatically,
“THIS IS NOT OKAY!”
And she began to pray passionately for wrongs to be made right, for the stolen things to be returned — for God’s justice.
“THIS IS NOT OKAY!”
The dam of emotion broke as her verdict was pronounced.
I don’t fully understand why those words brought so much comfort to our family, but they did. Perhaps she nailed the conviction we were too weak to scream. Perhaps it spoke solidarity: we were not alone.
Certainly that declaration called to something deep within to rise up and contend.
And as she prayed, it was as if we had a very qualified advocate in a court of law pleading our case. And I guess in many ways that was exactly what was transpiring.
These are hard days and years to revisit, for while God has brought so much healing and redemption to us personally, there is still a young man and many more like him who are enslaved to various masters whom they were never intended to serve, and... it is NOT okay.
Oh, how very many things come to mind that fit into this category of not-okay-ness.
It is not okay... when evil triumphs, or addictions rob, when minds are tormented, violence victimizes, and lives are lost prematurely. It is not okay when families shatter, children go hungry, humans are used as slaves, and terror oppresses. It is NOT okay when________. You fill in the blank.
And... It is not okay when I refuse to acknowledge those things that are not as they should be. When I turn my head to ignore. When I rationalize and minimize. Or... when I choose to not keep my heart tenderized with empathy and compassion under the mallet of other’s harsh realities.
To the hijackers in the Temple scrambling and stumbling over upturned tables, Jesus said, “This is not okay!” To the hindrances which would prevent the little children from coming to Him or toward the prejudices against a woman’s extravagant worship, He said, “This is not okay!” To the demons and diseases that inhabited the weak and to the serpent whose head laid beneath His descending heel, Jesus said, “This is not okay!”
All the way to the cross, In His life, death and resurrection, He was pronouncing judgement against evil and unraveling that which was unacceptable.
For, “He came to undo the works of the devil.”
And we too must be honest in admitting the unacceptable, refusing to make peace with the inexcusable. Allowing a just anger at the true enemy to drive us to our knees before the One True God. May we never settle into an apathetic acquiescence regarding those things we are not meant to befriend.
Until all of the not-okays are made into all-things-new, we can do something that truly changes things. We can and must pray.
Though you may be called to take some form of action in response to injustice, or to be part of the answer to your own prayers, that is not what this blog is about. It is about directing our anger and angst to God and never underestimating what can be accomplished through the primary and powerful means of prayer.
Due to the overwhelming number of things that are not yet right in this world... Perhaps we could just choose one (or more) of them which lie within our own sphere of influence, and go beyond the mere breathing of a prayer, to committing the matter to prayer for as long as it takes to see things turn around, change, resolve, start to shift — like the widow who persisted in pounding on the judge’s door.... For, will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’ ”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18)
Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org regarding any questions about the cult mentioned in this blog.