i like tattoos. but not real ones. i like my weekly, meticulous, sharpie ones.
every monday, i take one of those amazing fine-tip sharpies and inscript my left wrist with a word, saying, or scripture, whatever the Lord is showing me that week. the past few weeks have said things like
'peace be still.'
'love is here.'
tiny bits of what God is revealing to my heart in my walking with Him.
after every word, i place a deliberate period.
because i believe that when God says hope, He means Hope.
When God says 'Peace be still' He means...Peace Be Still.
That tiny dot signifies a finality.
a moment of stillness.
i work at a physician's office, where often i meet people who question the pieces of art emblazoned on my wrist. usually they ask how long ive had it....i usually laugh and say 'oh..two hours'. then they ask what it means. but last week's was different. i heard a podcast two weeks ago that changed my life. it was from a guy named steve chalke. an ordinary man with an extraordinary message. his message is about trafficking, but more importantly..its about ending trafficking and oppression around the world. that's right. end. with a deliberate period. he shares a story about the early gladiator games..where christians would be killed for sport... did you know how they ended? one man got so disgusted at the games that he started yelling during a particularly gruesome match. and he stood up and cried 'stop in the name of Jesus...stop.'
no one heard him. so he tried louder, this time stepping down the steps of the amphitheater which held over 60.000 people. still no one heard his cry. 'stop in the name of Jesus, stop."
he walked further down...repeating his battle plea, as blood dripped onto the arena, mingled with the dust and sweat of the prisoners who were being killed. finally, he crossed the last barrier, slipped his sandal onto the arena floor and hurdled the low wall...until he stood in front of this crowd. in those days, it was common for there to be a comedy act or skit during this portion of the match, or for an additional slave to be brought forth and killed. everyone thought he was a joke. or a prisoner. so they came after him, baring swords and shields as he stood alone.
and as they killed him, with his final breath, he cried
stop. in the name of Jesus...stop.
and the theater fell silent. one man stood up and left.
then another. then another
until 60.000 people were gone.
and all that remained was one man, lying in the dust.
a deliberate period.
he ended the public gladiator games. and after his death, people stopped going. they saw it for what it was...glorified murder. but he ended it. period.
and so on my left wrist i wrote in tiny, solid letters, stop the traffik. and people started asking.
and i told them that in Mali..there is a little boy who was sold into slavery so he can harvest the cocoa beans that we purchase in our supermarkets. and that in Ethiopia, a little girl sleeps on the pavement, afraid to close her eyes because of the evil around her. and that in Thailand there are women my age who never got to be little girls at all.
steve chalke says that the christian life is like a beautiful ballet. it cant be summed up in a minute-long summary..it must be danced. what are we leaving behind? deliberate periods? until we start standing up to this evil..it will remain. he shared a simple way to combat it...stop consuming. stop leaving behind commas, which invite the next sentence of evil and oppression to march onward.
start leaving periods. stop buying chocolate thats not marked 'slave free', or 'free trade'. stop shopping at stores where slave labor is encouraged. it takes research. it takes effort. it takes hurdling that last low wall, and it mean getting closer to the swirling dust and drops of blood.
but we have to be deliberate. period. we have to dance.