A few weeks ago Thailand was hit by a series of bomb explosions aimed at tourist destinations. Some people asked: “Are you safe?” And although it happened fairly close to us, we were unharmed.
The definition of safe is “protected from or not exposed to danger or risk; not likely to be harmed or lost“.
Since I come from South Africa – statistically one of the most dangerous places in the world – I’ve felt pretty “safe” since we moved to Thailand. The bombs made me think twice, not about my safety, but about my perception of safety. They made me contemplate how the world offers a false sense of safety in having enough…enough money, enough insurance coverage, enough medical aid, etc.
However, even if we have all these bases covered, anything can still happen. Safety is never guaranteed. Feeling safe, at least for me, is simply the absence of fear, regardless of my circumstances.
I could very well return the question and ask you, Are YOU safe?
Or do you feel overwhelmed by the hurt of living in a world where most of your deepest wounds were not inflicted by strangers, but by people you love? Or do you fear that corruption often happens in the heart of the very same structures supposed to protect us?
One of the most heartbreaking facts I’ve learned about the sex trade in this country, as confirmed by many of my Thai friends, is that many of the children and minors are not kidnapped, but sold into the industry by their very own parents.
In other cases of sexual abuse, the statistics show that most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims; approximately 30 % are relatives of the child, most often fathers, uncles, or cousins; around 60% are other family acquaintances“.
“Globally, 1 in 3 women will experience violence at the hands of a male partner.” (According to the State of the World’s Father Report, Mencare, 2015).
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. And for all I know, you may somehow be part of those statistics. The danger is real and it‘s not only happening out there where extremists are strapping bombs to their chests and walking into buildings. Most of it is happening in our own houses, behind the closed doors of our neighbors’ houses, and in our own hearts.
I know because I’ve even surprised myself by some of my own explosions of anger as a mother. There is an on-going joke in my family: “I’ve never considered divorce, but maybe murder.” Although it’s said teasingly, there is always some truth in every joke.
The real question begging to be asked here is, “Are you safe?”
Are you a safe friend?
Or do your friends walk away feeling misunderstood and judged? Are you always too busy? And when you end up spending time together, do they feel comfortable to share their hearts?
Are you a safe spouse?
Or are you hiding secrets that could destroy your marriage? Have you at least attempted to find healthy ways to deal with your own anger and issues – or do you play the victim and blame your other half? Are you aware of their needs and ways you can meet them?
Are you a safe parent?
Or are you always distracted? Do you intentionally invest time in your children to build their lives, or are you counting on their performance to make you look good? Do they feel safe to be themselves with you?
Are you a safe employee?
Or are you gossiping behind your boss‘s back? Are you solving the company’s problems with a beer in hand during happy hour? Can your colleagues count on you not only to do your work well but also to show them respect?
Are you a safe stranger?
Or do you text and drive, conveniently ignore the homeless and treat the lady behind the cashier like she is invisible?
Are you safe for you?
Or are you slowly self-destructing with habits and addictions that will surely kill you? Always criticizing your own reflection in the mirror, and even contemplating a way to end it all?
If you are not safe for you, it’s hard to be a safe space for anyone else.
The good news is that there is hope. It is never too late to get help, to take steps towards change. To become one of the safe spaces this world desperately needs, to start building on a solid Rock, instead of sand.
The only way to be safe is if we abide in the shelter of His wings and if He abides in us.
Image Credit: Pixabay