To stay safe, I lived with iron bars on my doors and windows and a bodyguard, until age six in Iran, in the 1960s. My invisible prison was normal for me because that was all I knew. Once we moved to the United States, I saw how limited my life had been. I realized what it meant to be physically free.
Our Invisible Homemade Prisons
Unlike physical prisons, we may not be aware of the mental and emotional prisons we create for ourselves. We create our prisons from disrespecting and untrue statements we have adopted from someone we loved or respected as our own. We create our invisible prison to cope with the pain from their words, and to make sense of their opinion, especially if we are young. Some of our prisons are created from believing other people’s statements that we are ugly, worthless, used goods, not loved, or we can only be loved if we make others happy, even if we suffer.
We may also create prisons from the unhealthy or toxic environments we grew up in, even though we are a Christ-follower now. Because of our life experiences, we may believe it is normal for our loved ones to disrespect us by cursing, yelling, devaluing, hurting, controlling, manipulating, coercing, and even beating us as long as they apologize. We believe our life will continue to be our past experiences until we realize Christ’s love does not fit our current definition of love.
Because we are not born consciously knowing the definition, aspects, and design of Christ’s pure love, we can only do what we consciously know. Until we begin to seek the Lord and his truth with all our heart, mind, will, and spirit, we will continue to operate from what we know. We will use our broken love design and expect or pray for God to fix our problems.
Unfortunately, this is how the unhealthy cycle of abuse is passed down in generations, even in homes with Christian parents. Claiming to be a Christ-follower doesn’t instantly make us like him. However, we don’t grow up knowing this fact or how to see Christ’s love over what we experience as a child.
We are blind to Christ’s love design. We don’t understand we are responsible for working out our faith as we work with Jesus as his disciple. In our blindness, we are oppressed and unaware that we are living in an invisible prison. We know deep in our heart, something is wrong. However, we don’t see the path of God’s truth, the love design of Christ, or how to be free.
Our Prison Struggle
To break free from your prison(s), you must choose to change your life. To change your life, you must learn God’s truth and incorporate it every day in your life. The beginning of change has three parts.
- Realization you are living in an unhealthy prison.
- Acknowledging your life does not honor Christ in you, and you are ready to love Christ’s way.
- Committing to working with Jesus and transforming into his likeness, no matter what it takes.
The next stage of change requires you to seek God’s truth first by studying his word and growing your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Once you learn about Christ’s love, you can learn from other Christ-following experts on his love and healthy relationships. Your discoveries bring to light what you didn’t know about Christ’s true love and how you were deceived. You can see your invisible prisons and choose to break free with the help of Christ.
Breaking free sounds so easy. However, the reality of leaving what you know and walking an unknown path can also be scary. The only way I was able to break out of the cycle of living in thirty years of domestic abuse was one step at a time. Although I learned some things after my first abusive marriage, I ended up in two others before I finally found Christ’s love design.
It takes a while to unwrap and understand the complex prisons of our beliefs and brokenness, our unawareness of God’s word, power, and Christ’s love design, and our unawareness of abuse. Unless we know the aspects of Christ’s love design and how the enemy has used our brokenness, we can only make a little better choice. We trade up in each relationship, but we remain in our prison.
Jesus Came to Set Us Free
One of the most amazing gifts God gave us is His Word, the Bible. Most people in America can find a physical Bible, or they can go online to study God’s word. When you choose to be a disciple of Christ, you are responsible for studying God’s word to know Jesus, to follow him, and to work with him.
Jesus came to earth and showed us how to live in God’s love, which is his love. He also told us God’s truths. “We are in error because we do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” (Matt.22:29) The only way to be transformed into Christ’s likeness and be set free is to walk hand in hand with Jesus and know God’s word. When we know God’s word, we will recognize when scripture is being twisted, used out of context, and misinterpreted.
Jesus made a point throughout his ministry to quote God’s words to us. Jesus gave us new truths and encouragement. He also fulfilled the old scriptures. After Jesus was tempted in the desert, he came to the synagogue and read this proclamation for everyone to hear.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” (Luke 4:18, NIV)
Living in the Freedom of Christ’s Love
In Christ and with Christ, you can be set free from your invisible prisons. You can see his love path clearly. You can live in his hope and freedom. Take the hand of Jesus and break free one step at a time!
In my past blogs, I have left you with encouragement. Now it is also time to help you keep moving forward by taking action. Being Christ’s disciple means you will keep growing in his love. Today you can begin breaking free in one imprisoning area, our thoughts.
Take some time to pray and think about the following questions before you answer them. Ask Jesus to help you see what thoughts you need to work on with him. Being a faithful disciple of Jesus requires your participation with him. Use the following steps to begin working with Jesus and breaking free from unhealthy thoughts.
- Write down one unhealthy or disrespectful thought you have every day below that you know Jesus would not think.
- Look up Philippians 4:8 and write it below.
If you struggle with fear, here is a FREE list of 30 scriptures to help you.