“Shackles: The Playlist,” Song No. 5 …
“A Roman family man, cheated by a lifelong enemy, descends into darkness and despair. A transformed persecutor of Christians avoids a vicious stoning and multiple murder plots. Shackles tells the story of two men, separated by hundreds of miles, destined for an earth-shaking encounter.”
“Shackles,” my historical fiction novel-in-editing that tells the simultaneous stories of Paul the apostle and a jailer in Philippi, is set in the year 50 A.D. As I was searching for Roman/Latin names to decide what to name the jailer, I came across “Faustus.” When I learned the name means “Lucky,” I had what I was looking for, because Faustus is anything but lucky. Unlike the stereotypical first century Roman man, whom I usually think of as rough, domineering, even cold, Faustus is incredibly kind, gentle, compassionate, affectionate … Yeah, the traits we don’t commonly associate with men of that culture and that generation.
By any standard, he’s a “good guy.” And not unlike a lot of good guys, he is tormented by secrets and the ever-present fear that his world could come crashing down at any moment.
And then it does.
When that happens, where does a man or woman turn? What good was “being good?”
That’s from the story of Faustus, but no one had more to say about the futility of “being good” than Paul, who at one point genuinely thought that he was doing good by killing Christians. Expectations, rules, guilt and shame are powerful chains. What are the “chains” in your life? Self-sabotage? (See me raising my hand?) Guilt? Overwhelming feelings of inadequacy? Unrealistic expectations of yourself? Of others?
Time to break every chain.