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The Elephant Stampede

Continuation of The Elephant Gospel Book: Part 2: Elephant Stampede

The elephants had been a tranquil, majestic, massive part of the scenery outside the little village. The peace was broken, however—perhaps by a loud noise nearby, or some other perceived threat—and the herd went from peaceful grazing to full-throttle stampede in the matter of moments. Suddenly, they were destroying everything around them, trampling, rushing, and raging. They were uncontrollable, unstoppable. Usually harmless, now their heavy feet destroyed everything in their way, trampling everything smaller, quieter, and less fortunate.

The usually gentle creatures now caused injury and death and loss out of fear and carelessness. Or perhaps they caused this destruction as a result of ignorance, since what they feared was no actual “threat” after all.

In some cases, this is a sad image of the church and its response to the shackled elephants among us. Instead of seeing people, hurting and broken, so often we see just the vile sin and the labels that go with it—not unlike how people who knew the Samaritan woman would have seen her. And so in our stampede against the threat of sin, which Christ has already defeated, we trample to death the little broken ones who have been damaged by it already. Damaged by the abuse, by the secrets and shame and the shackles that have imprisoned them for so long. We don’t often choose the response of love and Gospel truth that would lead them toward freedom.

I hope in this section to do two things—first of all, to encourage shackled elephants that there is more to the Gospel than a stampede. We don’t have to join the trampling herd! And second of all, I want to awaken the Body of Christ to the impact that our actions have in the world, whether for good by drawing the shackled elephants toward heralding the Gospel as we are all called to do, or for evil, by a laissez faire approach to sin and sinners that causes misperceptions of the Gospel… or worse.

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