Standing Up On the Inside
Tattered and Torn by Alfred Kappes -1850-1894
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If poverty could have dignity this picture would illustrate it. We are in the home of a black family. Alfred Kappes has probably painted this after the liberation of slaves in America. This home is basic with wood floors and thin scatter rugs. The walls are bare and the only furniture we see are two chairs by the window occupied by two people trying to look at something by the light of the window.
But the real center of this picture is an elderly black woman dressed in rags that are tattered and torn. To study her pose she almost seems to be dancing in the middle of the floor. Her hands and arms extend as though listening to a hidden beat in her head. Her face has a proud, determined look that doesn't mind that we are looking in upon her.
No doubt she has lived most of her life in slavery but now she is free. She is old and worn out like her clothes but she is free and freedom brings a dignity with it.
Torn and tattered might be how many of us feel after a life being slaves of sin that has kept us in bondage. But when we realize we have been liberated from our bondage by Jesus' death on the cross then we come into a freedom that truly makes us free. We may still look tattered and torn on the outside but we are standing up and free on the inside!
We are able like this lady to stand up in the middle of our circumstances and dance by a new song. And as we dance the light begins to shine right where we are.
The tattered and torn life, that has been ours, fades into the background and what the world sees is the face of Christ. Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly. He is the one that makes us free and rescues us from a life that hides in dark corners.
He invites us to come as we are. He says, "Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
May our tattered and torn lives be transformed by Christ who truly makes us free.