As an author, I often wonder how long we will be able to share our thoughts freely and at what point the powers-that-be will decide that free speech is simply not something they want to allow. Lately, I’m noticing that we seem to have reached a point where that freedom has been slowly and somewhat stealthily withdrawn over the last several years. Maybe stealthily isn’t accurate; since the latest attempts to censor individuals have been pretty far-reaching and in plain view for those who wish to acknowledge them. Sadly, I’ve also noticed that the level of outrage that has been expressed over these instances of censorship has not been proportionate to the offense. And so, it has me thinking.
Whenever I see anyone being shut down and not allowed to speak, I’m reminded of everything I’ve learned and witnessed about abuse. An abuser often has a very different image that he or she portrays to the public, while being a complete and utter bastard in private. Most people see this person as an upstanding, fun, or entertaining soul because they generally are just that to anyone and everyone but the people at home who support them or depend on them. To that audience, the abuser puts on a very different kind of show. The image portrayed to the rest of the world is simply a facade to hide all of the insecurities, inadequacies, and inabilities that the abuser possesses. The epitome of the gaslight.
One of the biggest things an abuser will do is to impose limitations on the victim’s freedoms. First, they limit their ability to move about freely or create such a tight tether that making any effort to get away becomes so cumbersome that the victim feels safer simply staying put. Another thing the abuser does is to stifle communications between the victim and any outside support they may have. They may cut off access to phone, internet, mail, etc. in order to prevent the victim from making any contact with the outside world. This prevents the victim from effectively making claims about the abuse and isolates the victim to the point that they become unsure of what options they may have for changing the situation. The abuser may even find it necessary to physically move the victim away from those who may serve as a support network, thus effectively trapping the victim and making it even more difficult for them to stop the abuse.
There are many other things abusers do to assert their dominance over their victims, but the most effective by far is the removal of access to self-expression. Abusers hate it when their victims have opinions and they seek to snuff out those embers of spunk at any possible turn. Heaven forbid, the victim ever rise up and hold the abuser accountable for the things they have done. What we have been seeing in our society is the equivalent of an abusive relationship. Some of you believe that the abuser is the best thing since sliced bread, while others see the abuser’s actions for what they really are; an attack on our freedoms.
To be clear, this isn’t about politics. This goes much deeper than mere Liberal vs. Conservative squabbles. This is about the degradation of our country’s Constitution. This is about the systematic destruction of a nation’s foundation. This is about a plan being enacted to attack the freedoms of each and every individual; not just those on the left or the right. You may not see it yet, but if you delve just a bit deeper into some of the orders being signed, you’ll see that what is at the core of these most recent actions is the relinquishing of fundamental freedoms such as your 1st amendment rights to free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and even your 2nd amendment right to bear arms. And why? Because there are those who have somehow acquired power who have decided that your freedoms interfere with their ability to practice depravity and they don’t like the idea of anyone being able to question anything that they do. They want to impose their beliefs on you under the guise of the very freedom that they are systematically removing from you. For example, it’s not okay for you to refuse service to someone on the basis of beliefs that conflict with your own beliefs; but it is okay for someone to make you participate in things that go against your beliefs and to effectively try and force you into believing that your own values are somehow wrong. Does that seem right to you?
This is the classic struggle between good and evil. When evil is threatened with being exposed, it retaliates. And it doesn’t follow the rules. When good attempts to fight back by using the actual channels that were created to combat evil, it doesn’t work. Evil will do everything in its power to corrupt those channels and to make it impossible for good to do anything but fight fire with fire. For most of us, we aren’t necessarily sure how to operate on that level and so we hang back and wait to see what the others will do. But if we wait too long, evil wins. Because evil isn’t afraid to crash through the china shop. While we are tiptoeing around the shelves trying not to break anything, evil is plowing through the place destroying everything in its path. And good is left to clean up the mess.
If you’re having trouble seeing the truth in what I’m saying; take a good, hard look around. What does it look like in your neighborhood? Who has control? Where are you permitted to go? What are the stipulations? What do you feel comfortable saying? Are you afraid of losing your job? Your home? Your life? Are you allowed to practice your beliefs in a way that others can see and witness or are you being discouraged from doing so by loud, overbearing advocates for the other side? Would you feel comfortable posting something online that expressed your true beliefs about things like politics? How about religion? Sexuality? Abortion? Money? Does this sense of security change depending on what’s going on in the media? Are there some social media sites where you feel more freedom to speak than others? Or do you just prefer to keep your thoughts to yourself to avoid trouble? That, in and of itself should alert you to the fact that something isn’t right. It should be okay for you to say what you think.
Within reason, we should have no fear that having an opinion that differs from what’s popular on a given day will result in our being persecuted. Obvious exceptions to this would be things like expressions of support for things like pedophilia, sex abuse, murder, trafficking, theft, and other things that basically threaten the physical and emotional destruction of other human beings. Those are not okay. But stating that we believe in the sanctity of human life or in our right to protect ourselves or others from harm should not incite panic or retribution from those who support a different viewpoint. For example, I don’t like guns personally, but I would never tell someone that they shouldn’t have the right to own one if they are of sound mind and have no criminal background. I believe we should be able to enjoy the freedoms that are spelled out in our Constitution and that we should actually follow the laws that were enacted to protect those freedoms. They were created for a reason.
The thing with evil is that it seeks to regulate your acceptance of sin. It seeks to scare you into denouncing what is good by calling it judgmental. It seeks to bully you into abandoning common sense. It seeks to lull you into a sense of security when in fact, it is leading you into a most insecure place. Evil has tried since the beginning of time to be perceived as something that is superior to good. And if you believe in God and you believe in what His word says, you know that evil will present itself to you as everything you want. It will sneak in when you’re not paying attention and take the things you’ve worked hard to protect. And it will try twice as hard each day to steer you in the direction of abandoning all that is good and walking alongside those who never valued those things in the first place. If that’s a journey you don’t want to make, then it’s time for you to get your hands dirty.
Yes, it’s time for all good people to step up and fight for what is good and to put evil in its place. It’s time to speak up for those who are trying to protect others from being manipulated and pushed into accepting a way of life that goes against everything they know to be right. And it’s time to do so without worrying about being canceled or otherwise shunned. Chances are, if you’re meeting with resistance, you’re on the right track. I pray that you will take the time to take a good, honest look at the state of our world today and ask God if this is His will. I pray that you will put on the full armor of God and prepare for the battle ahead. It’s time for all of you warriors to show yourselves. It’s time for victory.
Rebecca Benston is the owner of Higher Ground Books & Media and the author of over twenty titles currently available through Amazon and other outlets. Her books include a mystery series (The Rona Shively Stories), empowerment resources such as Wise Up to Rise Up, Don’t Be Stupid (And I Mean That in the Nicest Way), and From Judgment to Jubilee, children’s books including Grumble D. Grumble Learns to Smile, All the Scary Things, and See How Strong You Are. Benston lives in Springfield, Ohio with her awesome daughter, Mya and enjoys traveling, reading, writing, and telling it like it is. She enjoys being able to help other authors get their stories out there through Higher Ground and has recently expanded her freelance services to offer more extensive guidance as a writing coach and social media manager. For more information, you can contact Benston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time to Get Back on Track!
Getting through life’s trials can be extremely difficult. There is pain on every side and more often than not, we stumble through the phases of grief until we end up on the brighter side of things.
By sharing the story of my divorce and the seven years that followed, I hope to encourage you to hang on and see each challenge as just another milestone that needs to be passed in order to find your healing.
My name is Rebecca Benston. I’m a Christian. I’m a woman. I’m a mother. I’m a writer. I’m a thinker. When I write fiction, I am usually writing a mystery series called The Rona Shively Stories. My P.I. character, Rona Shively is feisty, fearless and fabulous and is usually caught up in something she doesn’t want to be caught up in. In addition to this series, I also have a blog called Higher Ground for Life. Through this blog, I’m hoping to reach women or anyone who is seeking to develop a relationship with God and give them inspiration to get out there and follow His path for their lives!
I also have a blog called Leading the Follower. This one is my favorite. I write about religion, faith, spirituality and all that goes along with it. What we believe, what we don’t believe, what we are told to believe and how society feels about believing in general. I do a lot of testifying here and some of what I say may make you angry. Most of it will make you think. Some of it will make you cry. Any of it could make you laugh. It’s really up to you.
If you are looking for practical advice, honest conversation, and no nonsense observations about living in today’s world, check out my blogs at http://highergroundbooksandmedia.com and http://www.ronashively.wordpress.com and http://www.highergroundforlife.wordpress.com and http://www.leadingthefollower.wordpress.com. And if you’re so inclined, you can purchase my books and some other great, inspirational works from Higher Ground Books & Media at http://highergroundbooksandmedia.com.