The slave mentality

The slave mentality

Do you have a slave mentality?

A long time ago there was a nation who was enslaved for 430 years. They began as free men and women looking for shelter from a 7 year long famine, but slowly, over the years, the older generation became lax in the foreign country where they found refuge, and before long their dependence on their hosts was turned against them. They were put into forced, hard labor and remained so for the next 3 centuries. By the time the fourth generation was born, not one of their formerly free ancestors still lived, the only life they knew was slavery.

Through an act of God, this nation of over six hundred thousand people was set free from their bondage. You can read the whole story about the Israelites in the book of Exodus. What caught my attention was what happened after they were set free. Their bodies were strong from labor, but their minds were weak from slavery.

When they left Egypt, Exodus 13:18 tells us that they went up, “ready for battle” and 14:8 says, “they went up defiantly”. These recently liberated slaves were flaunting their stuff and loving every minute of it. But Exodus 14:10-12 tells a little side note of the story. The king, who had recently lost six hundred thousand men’s free labor, had a second thought about letting them go. So he rounded up the troops and set out to bring his “property” back. Now, it’s not that I blame the Israelites for being a little scared, but their response shows the state of their hearts and minds. “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” (vs. 11-12)

Not only where these people shaking in their sandals, but they were down right sarcastic about it. (God doesn’t refer to them as a stiff-necked people 6 times for nothing.) “What, they ran out of graves in Egypt that you brought us here to die?”, “Didn’t we tell you to leave us as happy slaves in Egypt?” Oh, how quickly we forget. Though they were freed from Egypt, they had yet to understand that they needed to rely on God. They didn’t get the fact that they weren’t just left out there alone, but in submission to God they would be truly free.

The next part of the story is pretty cool too, but I’ll let you look it up for yourself. In the mean time, there’s a Caedmon’s Call song called, “Wings of the Morning”, that says, “The ads and billboards rained in every language, the message every politician knows, when we’re fed that we are nothing we’ll believe it, and then do what we are told.”

Generally speaking, slave owners don’t try to build the confidence of their slaves. By demeaning confidence, limiting education, and insulting intellect they create a dependence upon themselves that keeps slaves obedient and submissive. We are born with this slave mentality.

Romans 6:17a says, “…you who were once slaves of sin…” Our mind and body were completely controlled by sin, we couldn’t see beyond the day to day tasks being commanded of us. Then, suddenly, we were set free from the bondage of sin. We put on a good show until a situation comes up that we don’t understand, can’t control, or seems too overwhelming. Right then, all of the lies, attacks, criticism comes flooding in convincing us that we will have to go back to how we have always lived, or die.

The connotation of a slave mentality is generally negative. But a slave mentality, a mentality the relies on the instruction, provision, and guidance of a stronger power, in and of itself is actually neutral. Romans 6:18 goes on to say, “having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”

We were created to serve, to be slaves to something. By default we were born serving sin, but because of Jesus’ sacrifice we are given the choice of whom we serve. We can either be slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. The beauty of this choice is in the two masters we have the option of serving. Romans 6 tells us all about both, the cliff note version is that the master of sin is one that leads to death, while the Master God gives us life. We are now free to choose.

Jesus, as our Master, speaks truth, life, love and peace into our psychotic life and teaches us to walk out the righteousness He gives.

So, who are you a slave to?