Friday, April 1, 2022
God Starts With Contrite and Broken Hearts
And Teaches Us to See
Wonders upon Wonders.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
1 John 1:3
We declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
Words of Grace For Today
It is a difficult row to hoe.
Offering God one’s broken spirit, one’s broken and contrite heart is an extremely difficult row to hoe.
After 12 years serving in the navy Lt.-Cmdr. Nicole Dugas has resigned. Lt.-Cmdr. Jennifer McGean has resigned in support of her friend. CBC reports: Cmdr. Ian Bye, sexually harassed her and abused his position of power as a senior officer in charge of base administration. He was charged with making a sexual comment in the mess on Oct. 22, 2020, given a written warning and fined $1,500. The navy released Bye in July 2021 as “unsuitable for further service” following an administrative review, according to a letter sent to Dugas. Three other senior, male officers involved in the handling of Dugas’s misconduct case were not held accountable, Dugas and McGean claim.
No one is surprised.
The military has long been an institution based on abuse. We not only expect it, we condone it and demand it. Basic training is designed to break the spirit of a young soldier to be, so that under fire in the field (and in all other aspects of military life) the young person will obey orders without hesitation and without questioning them. That has changed sort of maybe: soldiers are not to follow illegal orders, but then we expect them to anyway. We demand this, so that our soldiers can fight when told to, supposedly to protect our freedoms.
Anyone with a head on their shoulder knows, though, that soldiers are ordered to fight most often in order to guarantee the continued wealth and power and privilege of very few. Today that most often means huge corporations that are larger than most countries.
Since we know the military very rarely is put into action to protect our freedoms …
Since we know basic training is designed to break the spirit of soldiers so they will do the unthinkable for really bad reasons …
Since we know that the commanders of soldiers were all soldiers (even if never less than officers) who were broken in basic training …
Since we know that being broken in basic training really is to be abused and not to have a choice then or forever after to be free of it …
Since we know that those who are abused almost always become abusers given any chance of power over others …
Since we know that abusers rarely contain their abuse to one specific kind of abuse but rather spread abuse like a sawed off shotgun …
It therefore does not surprise us that abusive commanders also sexually abuse those under their command, that women are readily made targets of this abuse, and that those higher up in command have a difficult time dealing with abuse of any kind at all, since climbing the command structure seems to require one to be an abuser grown out of being abused.
It will not, or should not, surprise us, when we start to read how female commanders abuse those under their commands, and that their abuse is of all kinds including sexual abuse.
Given that, we ought to do everything we can to stop the abuse … but we’ve boxed ourselves in a pretty deep, cavernous, in nearly inescapable hole.
For generation upon generation humans approached God, hoping to control God’s power over them and their surroundings and their enemies, or at least to sway God to act a bit in their favour every once and a while. The standard approach was to bring God a sacrifice, always a sacrifice of some other animal’s life, or (horrors of horrors, as it is still done today on the altar of capitalism to the god of greed) … or the life of another human (or as is done today still, the lives of many, many other human lives.)
It did not take long for intelligent and insightful and inspired humans to recognize how dangerous and destructive this ‘sacrifice’ mentality was, as they knew that God was not to be controlled or swayed by the killing of others. What people will come up with, when the Devil takes control! Wise people knew that God asked for the spirit (built up by the Devil’s deceptions) of proud humans to be broken, so that they recognized their privileged place in creation as those loved by God. So the Psalmist writes even to us today: The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Most humans set on making their way up in the world view contrite and broken hearts as the debilitating destruction of their core and their way upwards.
God’s ways are not human ways, to be sure, for God starts with our contrite and broken hearts, forgives with unconditional love, and restores us to a fullness of life that cannot be achieved on our own, and cannot be taken from us.
For we live in fellowship with the saints of all time, with Jesus our Saviour, and with God the Creator, and with the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps some of us, in the right positions of command in the military, can start to overcome their own being abused, and the abuse that is all around them.
This we hope for, and pray for. Also that the abuse and bullying in the police and in the courts (for they are as horrendously swallowed by abuse coming from the top down to all people) will be overcome as well, by God’s immeasurable power of Grace and steadfast, unconditional love.
Not even a fool would pray for anything else, not even on April Fools’ Day.