My Chains are Gone

>> Sunday, March 13, 2011

A century ago, prisoners were shackled in various ways. A single person might wear a short length of chain attached to a heavy ball, limiting their movement and impeding escape. This was known as a ball and chain.

Two ankle shackles attached to each other by a short length of chain are known as a hobble or leg irons. If several prisoners were chained together, the chain was extended between the individuals, creating what we know as a chain gang. The prisoners had to change the way they walked, shuffling their feet to keep from tripping … known as the convict shuffle.

The use of these chains could be hazardous. Some of the chains used in the first half of the twentieth century weighed twenty pounds. Some prisoners suffered from shackle sores … ulcers where the iron ground against their skin. Gangrene and other infections were serious risks. Falls could imperil several individuals at once.

I’ve never been physically shackled.

I grew up in a very legalistic church. At an early age I was given the list of rules for my life. This was very similar to attaching a ball and chain to my ankle. My movements were definitely limited … no attending school functions, dating or going to movies. The ball was very heavy … the ball that impeded my escape. God would get me if I questioned any of the rules.

I also was part of a chain gang … where I had to adjust my walk to accommodate all the others in this gang. I did the convict shuffle for many years. The chains chafed, caused internal ulcers and impeded my growth.

Than came the blessed day I was released from prison. My chains fell off and I began healing. I discovered God’s love for me … just as I am … damaged and scarred. The words to Chris Tomlin’s song, Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) speak to my heart every time I hear them … and I have to sing along loudly. I truly have been set free.

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace

8 comments:

Barbara Lynn Culler March 13, 2011 at 7:57 AM  

As soon as I read your title, I thought of that song! AMEN!

Joy Bach March 13, 2011 at 10:37 AM  

Very good. Love it. Amen.

Rita's Random Ramblings March 13, 2011 at 12:27 PM  

"I grew up in a very legalistic church. At an early age I was given the list of rules for my life. This was very similar to attaching a ball and chain to my ankle." Me too!
I am so thankful I now walk free in the knowledge of His love!

Joy Bach March 13, 2011 at 12:50 PM  

Yes, Rita. Such freedom! And now we must tell others.

Laury March 13, 2011 at 4:29 PM  

That makes my heart hurt that churches would do exactly the opposite of what Jesus preached. So sorry that you had to go through that, Joy. Thank you for sharing with us and I'm very happy that you have freedom in Christ!!!!!!

Laury March 13, 2011 at 7:48 PM  

Hey Joy, I'm in Matthew in my Bible reading (B90X) and thought of you and this post.

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me (Jesus). Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace (walking in step with Jesus- not in the chains that churches sometimes put you in.) I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (Have some fun and enjoy life in Christ!) Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message) I love this version of this verse! I added the extra stuff, of course:)

Just had to share it with you.

Joy Bach March 13, 2011 at 8:53 PM  

Laury thanks so much for your compassion. It's hard to believe churches do that i
In the name of Jesus. That scripture us wonderful. Thanks for sharing it.

Marijo (Mary Jo) Phelps March 14, 2011 at 8:24 AM  

Praise God for the chains he has broken off all of us - may we daily realize that freedom and walk in it standing tall because of our Lord Jesus!!

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