*Disclaimer – this article is not about Freud’s theory, the term “ego” is used to refer to a mindset not a theory.
As a lifelong learner, I often enjoy watching documentaries and learning about various people and events that happened throughout history. Two documentaries that I never seem to tire of and are so relevant to the times that we are currently living in are “The Spies of Mississippi” and “Chisholm ‘72 – Unbought and Unbossed.” I really notice a similar theme in both documentaries that bring up concerns about how our current law enforcement, justice system (courts), and governments (globally) are managing change as well as trying to keep in place the often unjust and corrupt systems that only favor the elite few. These concerns are not really focused on race relations, although that is where these unjust practices can be clearly seen. I suggest that the tactics that are described and documented in both documentaries unfortunately could be used in any scenario that a elitist group wants to “stay in control.” The truth is, regardless of how many people, of any race, religion, or financial status are behind the implementation of social justice agendas, there will always be some “push back” from the people who hold positions of power. From this truth we can now immediately discern ego vs equality struggles that are happening and pray accordingly.
The first question as intercessors that we should ask before we begin to pray about a topic like this is: What does the Bible have to say about this? The next question is: Are there any examples of this being portrayed in the Biblical account? While we all have to do our due diligence to search the scriptures on our own to get a grasp on the specifics that we should pray about, the Bible does give us some examples of leaders whose ego guided their decisions. Below are a few examples of egocentric leaders in the Bible:
Pharaoh vs. Moses and ultimately the God of Israel (Exodus 7:14-11:10) – This is a classic Bible story that details God’s deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians. The Pharaoh in this story represents a great example of abuse of power, ego led leadership, and the impact of that on the people under such a system. The story does not start when Moses is chosen by God to deliver His people, the story begins when the Pharaoh decides that there are too many Israelites in the land and fears that they would one day overthrow his kingdom. The Israelites were not doing anything wrong against the king or his rulership. In fact, the Israelites had assimilated into Egyptian culture, so much so that when they finally were delivered out of Egypt their first complaints included a desire to go back to Egypt. The point is that Pharaoh only had fear, speculation, and difference of race/religion as justification to begin to oppress them and inflict hardship on them. The ego led dynamic comes into play with the ten plagues that led up to Israel’s deliverance. While realistically there are very few kings or people in power that are used to holding rule over massive groups of people that are simply going to agree on the first time a representative asks to let their people leave his/her rulership. So the initial no from Pharaoh is to be expected, however after at least the first two or three plagues it would be feasible for some type of negotiation or consideration to happen, but the only response from pharaoh is no. I finally watched the video showing George Floyd’s murder and … I saw the same ego power play at work. Officer Chauvin, as asked repeatedly by Mr. Floyd and by the bystanders to remove himself off of Floyd’s neck and he refused to do so. Just like in the ten plagues there were so many indicators that a different course of action needed to be taken, but in my opinion, out of ego that did not happen. While it is clear that race definitely was an underlying cause of why this terrible situation happened, abuse of power coupled with ego led decision making ultimately caused the untimely death of a man that was not causing harm to the officers who were present. The main takeaway is that when a person takes the position of God and uses positional power to harm it will always lead to injustice, oppression, and corruption. This is why God had to deliver his people out of such a system, this is also why we need to pray and take actions to end this corrupt system and build up a just, righteous, and Kingdom led system.
King Balak and Balaam (Numbers 22-25)– In The Spies of Mississippi documentary, the systematic resistance to the civil rights movement was exposed in detail. In the Bible we have a simpler case of systemic resistance in Numbers 22-25. King Balak hired Balaam, a prophet, to curse the children of Israel to sabotage their entrance into the Promised Land. When Balaam failed repeatedly in his attempt to curse the Israelites, they began to observe and study them, seeking to expose some weakness. When they could not find a weakness, they devised a plan to have the Israelites sin against God as to remove His protection from their curses over them. While The Spies of Mississippi doesn’t show anything about “curses” out right, it does show the great extent that the local government went to observe (spy on) the leaders of the civil rights movement. This is disturbing because the information they gathered was used to hinder, block, impede, and sabotage the righteous work of the civil rights movement specifically in Mississippi, however the impact of their actions has felt throughout the nation. They used government funds to carry out their “missions” and revived the local chapters of the Klu Klux Klan, while simultaneously placing Klansmen in positions within law enforcement and local government.
King Ahasuerus vs Queen Vashti (Esther 1:9-22) – This may be a controversial one for some of you, particularly because of the themes of obedience and submission to the king at play in this scripture. While it could be argued that disobedience for any reason against the king is wrong, in this particular story the king is intoxicated when he makes his request for Queen Vashti to come to his party. While it is not implicit in the text, he may have also within that same request been asking her to do something indecent as well. With this in mind, her refusal to grant the king his request was not totally unjustifiable, however within the context of King Ahasuerus being the supreme ruler action was taken against her. The reasoning to “divorce” her and remove her royal title had more to do with the king “losing face” in the eyes of his courtiers and Vashti becoming a poor “role model” for women of his kingdom. Bottom line is that Vashti has a right to say no to the king’s request by our modern standards, however in the context of her culture and Ahasuerus’ rulership expressing and acting on her right was regarded as rebellion, treason, and imposition against the king.’
Haman vs the Jews (Esther3:1-15) – One of the first examples of a leader having desires and plans for systematic genocide ever recorded. In the documentary Human Zoos: America’s Forgotten History of Scientific Racism, the effects of scientific racism is discussed and the effect that it has had on race relations ever since. It is true Haman is the first recorded to actually legalize genocide against a specific people group (the Jews) not Hitler, but Hitler was not the first to use the racial superiority propaganda from so called “scientific studies,” as the motivation to enact such a viscous crime against humanity, shockingly it was American scientists who first seeded the concept of a superior race. Regardless of the justification to devise and implement such a horrific crime as genocide against any people group for any reason, the motivation at its origin is always hate. It’s quite simple, Haman was offended by Mordecai’s refusal to bow to him (ego at play), therefore he hated Mordecai and everyone like Mordecai (the Jews). This is an important issue to pray about not just because of its gruesomeness, but also because history forgotten tends to repeat itself. In modern Israel, I am saddened to say that I have learned of the disparity between European Jews and Ethiopian Jews. How can this be? Before anyone judges, it happens all of the time: in the Afro American community, in places like India, China, Brazil and amongst Christians as well. When people focus on their differences from a negative aspect, the divide is formed. Lord please end every type of genocide and extinguish division from among us in Jesus name!
King Nebuchadnezzar vs. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3:16-28) – King Nebuchadnezzar is not unlike most of the ancient kings. He wants supreme rulership and absolute obedience from his constituents. Just the fact that he commissioned a giant statue of himself alone tells us what type of ego he had. Another interesting point to this story is the theme of consecration that is present throughout much of the book of Daniel. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not the only Jews that were ordered to bow before the statue. However they are the ones that we remember because they did not bow. At the height of the Civil Rights Movement there were many leaders with the potential to be great, as great as if not greater than the heroes and champions that we venerate today. What happened? Did the “man” hold them back? Or did they get weary and discouraged from the fight? As intercessors we face the same opposition and resistance sometimes. It is very tempting to give up because it is costing too much, or grow weary because the answer does not seem to be in sight. However, if we accepted the call to pray, intercede and advance the Kingdom, a life of consecration is also what we are agreeing to. It comes with the territory… During a recent time of prayer I was expressing to God all of the discouraging things that were on my heart and the attacks and opposition that I perceived. It was like I was asking the Lord what He was going to do about it, and He was asking me right back: So what are you going to do? Are you going to give up? Are you going to give up your call, your anointing, your gifts and talents? Are you going to give up the purpose that I gave you? These questions from the Lord really made me stop to think, and I came to the conclusion that regardless of what comes against what the Lord is doing in my life, I can not give up. I can’t afford to.. The Lord invested the life of His Son Jesus for me to be here. So if trouble, attacks, discouragement, or any other thing comes to resist the plan of God for my life, I accept that it just comes with the territory. Even with the recent protests and outcries against racial injustice all over the world, no one who is comfortable with the way things have been is just going to move out of the way, give up their position or way of doing things in order to appease the people. There will be resistance, opposition, and hindrance to the cause – know that it comes with the territory and prepare accordingly. One more point on this – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had faith in the deliverance of the Lord, however they were prepared to die if God chose not to intervene. Yes they were thrown into the fire, fire that had been increased to seven times hotter than the standard. In the fire God showed up and delivered them, so regardless of what consequence of our consecration that is imputed to us, the Lord is with us, and He is faithful to deliver us.
Sanballat and Tobiah (Nehemiah 4-6) – I really think that this is probably one of the closest representations of what happens in modern society in efforts to resist, hinder, and obstruct the civil rights movement and kingdom advancement. From the inception of Nehemiah’s efforts to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, when neighboring people groups heard about it they became nervous and upset, fearful that the Jews would gain an advantage over them (because they likely had the “upper hand” over the Jews). So Sanballat and Tobiah began to harass Nehemiah with threats, and vexed him and the workers on the wall with taunts. When none of that discouraged them from completing building the wall, they (Sanballat and Tobiah) sent letters to the king to report that Nehemiah had built an illegal wall for malicious intent against their people. That tactic did not work either and the wall was completed. In my opinion, this is precisely how political correctness works. First what is righteous is challenged and portrayed as having an evil agenda, then the efforts of the righteous are taunted, heckled, and diminished publicly, to draw people towards their agendas. After that, the opposing group seeks to change the law in favor of their agenda. Let me clarify, changing corrupt laws into laws that uplift the oppressed and bring justice to those that benefit from injustice is not evil or wrong. However to remove what is good, right, and just and replace it with what is inherently evil and unjust is corruption at its core.
Obstruction to Justice
In Chisholm ‘72 – Unbought and Unbossed, a documentary about Shirley Chisholm and her presidential campaign really does a great job of showing the politics of politicians- how the American political system is flawed and the reason why change is campaigned for but rarely achieved by the politicians who make promises to do so. It is easy to criticize politicians who promise to change something major, however looking behind the scenes at what really is going on there is no wonder that even the most well intentioned politician has a difficult time delivering what he or she has promised. I want to say so much more about this documentary, instead I will encourage you to watch it yourself and form your own opinion. The main thing is that I want to invite you to pray with me about the reason for unity, gatherings, and solidarity. Why is it so easy to get people to agree to oppose righteousness, justice, and changes that would cause restoration and raise ethical standards? How can people that show up at a place to protest in peace be swayed to join in with rioting, looting, and burning down other people’s property? How can so many people ignore racial injustice and abuse of power by law enforcement and local governments until a video of a murder surfaces? Unity is not the problem, agreement is not the issue, the problem is preferring the convenient, the path of least resistance over the fight and struggle for true justice. As mentioned earlier, in the pursuit of freedom, justice, and equal rights struggle comes with the territory, but under a unified front the struggle becomes a beautiful expression of solidarity, hope and ultimately victory. What are we really uniting for?
Satiation of Quick Results With No Lasting Impact
Like most other people, I want to see justice being served swiftly to those who abuse power. However, I also want the justice that is served to be lasting, even permanent in the way that our law enforcement system works. So my prayer is that when we finally get the quick justice that we are asking/protesting/praying for, that we will not be satiated with that, but continue fighting for justice for the numerous others who have passed on, or are suffering greatly because of the vast injustices in our current law enforcement and judicial systems. Let us not take a “Scooby snack” of one or two victories and think that the world or the systems that are running it has changed. Historically we did that after the Civil Rights Movement, this is why so many people up to this recent video exposé denied that there was even a valid argument for racism existing in America today. They were satisfied with the changes that were birthed out of the Civil Rights Movement and felt like enough had been done to “even the score”. This is not to say that we should “keep beating a dead horse” on certain topics once they are settled, but rather we cannot afford to wait until another tragedy to decide to fight for justice. We, including myself, need to hold everyone in position in law enforcement, judicial system, and local, state, and federal government accountable for their interaction with society and the example that they set. Swift justice -yes. Believing that everything is going to change because of that – no. If change for the better is truly going to occur, we have to not only be unified, we also need to stay focused on the prize.
Thank you for reading, and let’s continue to pray and seek the Lord for His guidance, counsel, strategy, intervention, and deliverance regarding these serious matters. As always please share with those that would benefit from the message in this post and please be safe and protected by the Lord if you are out there protesting.