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Who Owns You?

Nobody? Really? Nobody at all owns You?

That's surprising. I know there are a lot of people who own me. And there are a lot of others who have in the past, and still many more who would like to.


In times of old, and in some places today, people are owned outright. They are called slaves, or chattel, or bond servants. If you were to ask them who owned them, they would point to someone. They know who owns them.

Everyone knows that in this country (USA) slavery in the South was prevalent; but not so many people are aware that slavery was also common in the North. No, I don't mean the black slaves of the cotton fields, I mean men, women and children who sold themselves into slavery. This was especially true of many of the Irish immigrants who were escaping the potato famine by coming to America. Jobs were very scarce; so in order to eat and survive, they sold themself into servitude.

Ask one of these "servants" who owned them, and they would point to someone.

"Slaves" knew who owned them, who would feed them, where they would sleep, and who they served. Of course there were also abused slaves, and a slave could be sold to a new master.

And even today, in some countries, children and wives can be sold. If you are a child or a wife of a man in such a country, you are "chattel," that is to say, a thing, a possession of that man, with which he can do whatever he likes. I don't suppose those wives and children would outright state that they are "owned," but perhaps they would.


Well, that's fine; that's clear enough for the past and for other countries; but such a thing has no affect on us today, does it? Of course not.


Or does it?


Let's takes some extreme examples to begin with. Let's use a convict in prison. He gets up when he is told, he wears what he is told, he does everything that he is told and dares not do otherwise. And this does not just apply to the warden and the guards that he must obey, but to every other convict who happens to be bigger and meaner than him. Would you call this convict a slave?

How about the Military. Can a soldier say, "I don't feel like wearing this uniform today, I want to wear red?" Would you call a soldier a slave? And if so, isn't he subjected to every person who wears more stripes on his sleeve than himself?


Ok, those are extremes. But let's suppose you are neither a soldier nor a convict. So none of the above applies to you, right?

Well, how about a hospital. Have you ever been to a hospital? Anyone there tell you what you could and could not do?


How about a student. Once you have chosen your school (if you have been given that choice) and have picked your teachers and courses (if you have been given that choice), is there any other choice you get to make that doesn't carry with it some negative consequence?

And it's not only the teachers that you have to obey, but there are other students who have desires for you as well.


Are you dependent on an income? That is, do you have a boss that you have to obey and please to keep that job?


Are you a child living at home (some children have grandchildren of their own you know) who must do what your parents tell you to do?


"Now wait a minute," you say, "None of that means someone owns me. I can say yes or no any time I like. I'm not a slave."

And that's right, you can refuse any time you want - if you want to pay the consequences.

The slave in the cotton field has that choice also, and the convict has that choice, and the soldier has that choice - and the consequences for their choice may well be death.

Of course no one is likely to shoot you for saying no to a teacher or boss - but your income may very well take a sudden drop, and your work (or school) record will likely not speak so well to potential employers in the future.


WHO OWNS YOU?


Few people today are owned outright by another. It is not likely that anyone would point to someone when asked that question. Nor is it likely that anyone would state that they owned anyone if they were asked.

No, people don't own people outright anymore. People own chunks of people in these modern times. We now have many owners, and don't even know it. In fact, we deny it and even resent the suggestion that someone might own us at all.

We value and pride ourself on our independence. This nation was founded on independence and individual freedom. But do we really have it?


When you were married, if under normal conditions, you took a vow to "Love and obey." So, if you are married, you have taken an oath to do two things for one person. If you have been married more than once, than you have been divided up that many more times. These people own a chunk of you, and you own a chunk of them. How much of a chunk depends on your (and their) integrity, what type of vow you took, and the culture that has established that vow.

And if you are married without such vows, that is without commitment to one another, than there really isn't any bond to begin with.


You eat, and you likely have a roof over your head (and your family's as well). Someone supplies those things. If it is a job, than that boss owns a chunk of you. If you are independently wealthy, then whatever the source of your income (if it be stocks, oil wells, etc) owns a part of you. If you don't think so, consider what would happen if the stocks collapsed or the wells went dry.


Pets own you. Can you decide to take a trip to Hawaii without your pet? Without making some provision for your pet? And the closer you are to that pet, the more it owns you.


Your lawn owns you, in the same way that your pet does. You don't have a pet or a lawn? Do you have one potted plant that must be watered?


Things own you. If you have just one thing that you must take care of, that you would fear losing, that would cause you distress should you lose it; then that object owns a chunk of you. Perhaps it's your car, a diamond ring, the deed to your property, or a dollar bill stashed away somewhere.


Do you owe any bills? A mortgage? Credit cards? Taxes? Alimony?


If no one else owns you; If you had nothing that owns you. If there was no one in the world who you cared for or about; there is yet one thing here on earth that owns a huge chunk of you; The government(s). You don't think so? Try telling that to the cop who stops you as you walk through his town with your knapsack over your shoulder, or tell it to the judge.


POWER


Many of the above are just a part of being alive. Things and pets and houses and such; These have power over you (that is a chunk of you) to whatever degree you allow it to. They don't seek a chunk of you, you just turn it over to them.


But there are those who do want power over you. And it is very likely that you seek power over others.

There is something about the human psyche that needs to feel empowered, that feels "Less than" if it can't feel "Better than." And the way it attempts to satisfy itself is to gain power (authority) over others. It is not satisfied until it can control others. That others might be just one other, such as a child, a spouse, an employee, etc.; And as a last resort, a pet. Some psyches are so far down the ladder that they have to condemn an entire culture or race to try and keep itself off the bottom rung of that ladder.


BULLY SYNDROME


"If you don't do what I want, I'll_____!" You fill in the blank. Maybe the word(s) that best applies to you is "fire you," or "leave you," or "run away from home." Of course there's always the old favorites used by known bullies, but to use them the bully must be bigger or meaner than you; Just like the convict in prison.

But the other examples given are more akin to non-violent forms of bullying. And for them to be effective, the bully must have some power, that is authority over you.

"If you don't do what I say I'll fire you!" Normally that might be very effective - if you happen to work for that person. Otherwise the most you might get is a bellyache from laughing too hard.

"I'll run away from home!" That might work. But if it's the forty-year-old child you have been trying to get out of the house, you just might get another bellyache.


BLACKMAIL


Actually bully-ism is blackmail. The intent is the same - that is to get something from you (get a chunk of you) by using threats. I think of a bully as being one who wields some authority over you. Someone who you must serve in one capacity or another, against your will.

Blackmailers, on the other hand, try to get their chunk of you by surreptitious means. That is, he tries to gain power over you by using something against you that he really has no right to.

"I'll run away from home," is one such form of blackmail. The child is trying to gain power over you that he does not normally have. Where does the child get such a notion? Probably from you. "If you do this, I will give you that." Or, "I won't spank you if...." (etc.) Now of course you would call that bargaining. Right? And so would the child call it bargaining when he threatens to run away from home.


"If you don't give me your candy bar, I'll tell!" This one we learn in pre-school. The blackmailer doesn't even have to say what it is he is going to tell about you, or even who he is going to tell. You give him the candy bar, and a huge chunk of yourself right along with it.


SOCIETY


Ubange lips, rings that stretch your neck, feet wrapped from birth to keep your feet tiny, tattoos and burn scars when you come of age, bar mitzvah, fraternal initiation, diploma.

A society dictates what you strive for, what you wear, how you behave in order to fit into that society.

"Not me, man, I'm a hippy. Nobody owns me."

Flowers, "Peace and Love," long, simple dress, jeans, van.


We form micro-societies. And to fit in with that society, you must conform to the standards and expectations of that society. In other words, that society owns a chunk of you. Try joining a hippy community wearing a two-piece suit and a derby hat, or joining a law firm wearing feathers in your hair and thongs on your feet.


DEATH


If you didn't die at birth, and I assume you didn't, then Death owns you. Death is just biding his time until he takes possession of that which he already owns.

From the moment you were conceived, the life you have is only on loan to you for a limited period of time.


SATAN


You might not believe in Satan, and perhaps you are right. And if you don't believe in Satan, than you probably don't believe in Jesus either. And possibly you do not believe in God as a judge and creator either. If that is the case, than your journey through this study has ended here with Death.


But those of you who wish to follow along farther, if for no other reason than for the sake of argument; let's look at Satan.


Satan, Angra, Mainyu, Mara or the Devil. Whatever you call him, or whatever your faith; the chances are you believe in the devil in one form or another.

Satan's roll in the Fall of Man, that is, the Original Sin is also debated. But his negative influence on all of us is pretty well agreed upon.


Some religions believe that Satan has to influence each of us, that is, must bring us down one-by-one. That Man is either inherently good, or inherently neutral, and Satan must work to pull us to his level.


That said, I will from here concentrate on the traditional Christian view of Satan.


Death, as pointed out above, owns us from birth.

And so does Satan. This part has been debated, but like I said, here I am considering the traditional view.

Satan won Mankind in the Garden of Eden. When both Adam and Eve sinned, that sin was passed on to their children. (By the way, the Greek word for sin used in the Bible means "to miss the mark, so not share in the prize." Interesting?) Because of this, we are born with a "fallen nature," in other words, we are lost from the beginning.

(If a child is born to a slave, that child becomes a slave to the master of his or her parents; that is, the child is "born into slavery.")

So if Satan owns us - any ideas for what he intends to do with us?


JESUS


The Bible tells us that Jesus paid for sin. That is, he paid the debt that Adam owed for his sin, and that of our own as well. So the curse placed upon Man was lifted, part of which is death..


Of course you can always refuse to accept the payment and demand that you pay your own debts. I suppose it is everyone's right to do so. That way you don't have to be indebted to anyone, that is except Death of course.


I suppose it could be likened to having a check at your bank, where you owe a great deal of money, that is large enough to cover that debt. All you have to do is sign the check, and the debt is paid.


However, part of the agreement for having your debt paid is that you now owe the one who paid your debt. That is, you either continue to owe Death who is waiting to collect; Or you owe Jesus who wants to give you Life.


In Biblical times (and until fairly recently), if you owed someone money that you could not pay, then you became that person's slave until the debt is worked off. Of course, when you owe Death, then you never can work off the debt.

Of course someone can pay off your debt and set you free. Which is what Jesus did. However, you can continue being a slave to your old master, either out of refusal of the payment, because of ignorance of the fact that the debt has been paid, or because you love your old master and wish to remain with him. (Why someone would want to remain a servant of Death I don't know. But I guess some folks do.)


So let's say you accept the payment for your debt and you are now free. You have two options (that I can see). One is the option described above. The other is to become the servant of the One who set you free of your debt; that is, the One who bought you.

(I suppose you could just remain free, but I can't imagine to where that would lead.)


If you choose to remain with your Master as a servant (or slave), whichever Master that is, your old one or your new, then you have the option of becoming a servant for life. In such a case, the Master would stand you against the doorpost and "bore a hole" in your ear. (It has been interpreted that this means the Master "owns your ear" and you will only listen to him. Much like, I suppose, when Jesus said, "My sheep know my voice" and will flee from another

(For more on this, see Exodus chapter 21 and John chapter 10.)


So, I return to my original question. Does anybody own you? Or have I just been flapping my lips at the wind?

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