Are You Visiting People in Their Quicksand?
June 29, 2023
by Nicole D. Hayes
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows” (Psalm 23:5, ESV).
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1, ESV).
Today’s times seem unprecedented. A good portion of society is operating in and suspended in deception—at which they have become both captives and perpetrators of the delusions. They are not entirely at fault, for Satan is rampantly advancing lies and inviting anyone and everyone to join his campaign of evil ideologies often disguised as “autonomy” and “compassion.” As people become anchored in the deceptions trusting in their faulty thinking, as my dear brother in Christ and founder of Relevant Now, Hakim Hazim, said, God calls the believer to “visit the quicksand that others are stuck in, to help pull them out. We visit their quicksand, but we are not anchored or stuck in the quicksand, for we are anchored in a sure foundation (the truth, the solid rock that is Jesus Christ). It is uncomfortable but it is what we are called to do.”
Quicksand is a substance that, when you stand on it, you begin to sink. You are not standing on a sure foundation. For that reason, it can take a while to get out of quicksand. Per this video, you can survive quicksand, but you will need help getting free.
The further decaying of societal norms and morals is a type of “quicksand” for those who are not standing on the sure foundation of truth, the sure foundation of Jesus Christ. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:24-26, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand” (NIV).
We are grieved and sobered by the decay. When we are not in alignment with God, it creates chaos and disorder. For example, some think protecting and preserving human life is objectionable. The manmade and fluid social construct of “gender” is challenging DNA-biological sex assigned at conception, muddying ethical and scientifically evidenced healthcare delivery and norms. Speaking truth in the face of deception is considered hostile. For those of us who claim to follow Christ, if we are not intentional in praying and seeking to truly mirror Christ in our words, disposition and actions, we can easily lose our reason for being a love letter to the world. We should have a righteous anger in seeing the enemy’s assault on God’s image bearers. We are called to “…demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV). In doing so, Lord, keep us recognizable to you—and not reduced to worldly tactics.
A Lesson in Loving Your Enemies
In Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermon “Loving Your Enemies,” delivered on November 17, 1957 at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, the message is basic and serious as Dr. King references Jesus’ words and command to us in Matthew 5:43-45 to love and pray for our enemies. Dr. King notes that, although it is basic, it is difficult given the numerous reasons we may disagree or dislike someone. And yet, Jesus gives us this command. Dr. King continued, “We have the Christian and moral responsibility to seek to discover the meaning of these words, and to discover how we can live out this command, and why we should live by this command.” I invite you to read Dr. King’s sermon.
In the imperfect work of advocacy and public policy that I, along with my colleagues, engage in within the states and the federal government, most of us do so in the hopes of helping people out of their quicksand—so they and others may experience true freedom and human flourishing. It is an arduous and persistent work with a variety of partners hopefully undergirded in and led with prayer and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
However, it is not only the unbeliever who is anchored in quicksand. Feeling somewhat powerless (and fearful) in seeing society’s quickening moral decay, there are believers who have trusted in the idols of institutions, partisan politics and politicians, or other vehicles to swing a sledgehammer upon our amoral culture. Seeking relationship with the idols to bring about our agenda seems the order of the day, rather than seeking relationship to help extract those who remain stuck in their quicksand. The non-believer is succumbing in their quicksand, while some believers are succumbing to a “power-drunk” societal quicksand that has forgotten the cross when they deal with other individuals. In the pursuit of power, Dr. King in his sermon says that love “is the only creative, redemptive, transforming power in the universe.”
The quicksand is real, and people are succumbing. Visit people in their quicksand. Consider if your words, disposition and actions are undergirded in love with a focus on relationship instead of power. In referencing Psalm 23:5, I love the vision it creates in my mind. While we may have enemies, by placing a table before our enemies, we are hoping they may join us. We hope to put a leaf in the table so more may join us at the table. As we’re educating and extracting folks out of their quicksand, as we’re pursuing relationship instead of power, faulty mindsets may get set free. If we’re behaving with a mind as liberators (Isaiah 61) rather than our political party affiliation, folks might get set free. There is no benefit in demonizing or vilifying those who are stuck in quicksand. If we instead work to uproot the constructs that have shaped their faulty thinking and plant constructs for new thinking, then we shift our focus from defeating people to freeing people.
Our strategy and goal must remain pursuing relationship.