Victor Counted's Blog

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28 Apr 2014

Protecting Those You Lead

There are two sides to protection: 1. Being protected and, 2. Protecting others. Both are exponentially related and require great humility, trust and love. For instance, you need to trust someone enough to allow them into your life to protect you. And on the other hand, you need humility to submit to someone’s protective measures. Either way, both are polarized by love. We need the best wisdom to harness the noisy negatives and conflicts of life and respond accordingly with an aura of protective, life-serving action, rather than escalation or unnecessary force of any kind. We live to protect others and in return, rewarded by being protected by those we protect.

A good illustration is that of parents and their kids. The bond is so deep they can give their own lives for their children. Parents are always protective of their offspring, especially when they are little. Our parents never gave up protecting us. Regardless, you will soon have to return that favour when they are at their brim and too old to lift their own tea cups. This is when they need you to spread your wings of love around them and protect them. The same applies in our relationship with God. God protects us and in return, it is our responsibility to protect His works. Paul explains this is in Romans 16:17-18, where we are told to mark them or keep a wary eye on people in the church who are there to do evil. Paul tells us there are two ways in which believers may protect themselves against those whose mission is to destroy God’s work. The first way is by separation (Romans 16:17), and the second way is by penetration (Romans 16:18). But that’s a discussion for another day.

Submitting ourselves to God is important for many reasons, but chief among them is the key role it plays in allowing us to experience God’s protection and grace. In Genesis 37, the bible tells us the story of how Joseph’s brothers became jealous of him and sold him into slavery. They perpetrated this crime against Joseph with nothing but bad intentions. The remarkable part of the story was how Joseph chose to respond to his circumstances. Rather than becoming angry or reactive or playing the victim, Joseph submitted himself to a God Who had nothing but his best interests in mind. Because he submitted himself to God in the midst of his trial, he attracted God’s protective grace and it really didn’t matter anymore what his brothers’ intentions were. By committing Himself to God, Joseph allowed God’s protective grace to override the bad intentions of his brothers, and became the only agency through which God’s Law came to the world through Israel (Romans 9:4), and hence brought salvation to the world through Jesus Christ, who is the author of eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9).

One thing I have learned from this, one way or the other, we pay back every good deed gravitating towards us without knowing the eternal value of our role in God’sMaster Plan. And whether you like it or not, everyone needs some protection; be it emotional, physical or spiritual. No one is invulnerable to the threats and unpracticabilities of life.

Protection is simply, understanding that people rely on you for their healing, safety and security. Another reframed definition is “the skillful walking of razor’s edge of disturbance in the face of disturbing realities”, according to Axladitsa Immersion. Protection is all about transforming our hotspots of reactivity to dispense an inherent grace that calms and adorns toxic circumstances. To achieve this however, it is important to modify your dynamics in such a way that we are accessible and can inspire trust and bring healing to hurting people. According to David Miller, author ofGod at Work, in abusive and toxic work environments we can shield, protect, and provide safe havens for co-workers. Maybe it’s because you have a certain scope of power and can use that power humanely and restoratively. Maybe it’s simply that you are a healing and welcoming presence at the water-cooler. Regardless, your mission in that toxic work environment is to be a haven of protection and healing. David concludes by saying that our mission in such environments is to provide protection for others.  

Finally, “you are not big enough to accuse the whole age effectively, but let us say you are in dissent. You are in no position to issue commands, but you can speak words of hope (as a protector). Shall this be the substance of your message? Be human in this most inhuman of ages; guard the image of man for it is the image of God.” – Thomas Merton

Protection is bliss!

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