Twelve years

A man is ‘called out’ for posting a workout referencing a film ’12 years a slave’ . What are we supposed to do? What is wrong with using such simile? ‘I’m working like a slave’ is not an uncommon phrase. Are we to be banned from using it anymore? Surely it both celebrates the capacity of a slave to work hard and at the same time recognises that a man should not have either to work as a slave or be a slave. What are we to say instead? I’m running like a winger? I’m spinning like a jet engine? Or ballet dancer? They don’t have quite the same impact, do they? And the impact that I’m working like a slave has is derived from the very thing that slavery is.

Slavery is a fact, not just of history, but of our present world. Slave traders were often rich men, and were not just white skinned. Where are the slave routes today? They may not be crossing the Atlantic but they still cross other seas. Who are the traders? Where do they live? What colour, as if it mattered, are their skins?

Our trainer came up with a bright, witty and memorable tag line for his routine. Why condemn it and him? Surely we should celebrate those who in this way expose the hardships of slavery. Perhaps he should have used the proverb slightly amended: I’m working-out like a slave.

But yet still remember: I love, I love my master, I will not go out free, for he is my redeemer, he paid the price for me. In his kingdom there is no distinction between native born and the stranger, there is one law for all: Greek, barbarian and Scythian…which I think includes even the English Irish Scots and Welsh not to mention the rest of the world, slave and free, and one day people from every tribe, tongue and nation shall eat at the table of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Come to him and live. Become his slave and discover that only in his service is their* true freedom.

* I have just noticed it that some grammaticasters may be annoyed by the spelling of ‘their’, but surely it is correct. I leave the reader to discover why that is so.

Whilst Coco does not agree entirely with our well-intentioned trainer’s conclusion: ‘Unfortunately I can’t rewind time and take it back – it’s my mistake and it’s a big one. I made a poor judgement in a post and I’ve apologised. I don’t know what else I can do‘, Coco also understands that there really is nothing else he can do. When a person wants to find a reason to be offended, they will not accept your apology, neither will they be persuaded by any argument that they have no cause to be offended. It behoves however those who have been offended not to themselves cause offence by insults. Let not the pot call the kettle black.

The only mistake he made was to forget that there are those in this world who enjoy taking offence at someone else’s expense and are constantly on the lookout for the opportunity to do so.