Can We Talk, Again?

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.  Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? I Corinthians 10:223-26, 29 NIV

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1 NIV

I have been paying attention to probably far too many news items and commentaries, but what I’ve seen grieves my spirit. For in this country, we are supposed to have certain guaranteed rights, and as long as we don’t infringe upon the rights of others–those rights should be respected, not vilified.

We have freedom of speech–but that doesn’t mean we should have a foul mouth and express hateful rhetoric towards others or about others. So, when the QB of the San Francisco 49ers decides that he doesn’t want to stand while the National Anthem is playing, that is his right and since he is not infringing upon the rights of others–none of the rest of us should anything to say. Why is it that there are those who think they have a right to impose their consciences upon others in judging what we do?

Speaking of which–the imposition placed upon Black Americans–and how we’re labeled has become a topic of conflict. On more than one occasion and in more than one venue, I have seen people complain about the use of a hyphen in the African-American identity. One person went so far as to say, the use of the hyphen is the cause of all the racism in this country. I beg to differ with them. No hyphen was used when we were classified: slave, or colored or even the hated “nigger” or a number of other hateful terms, when referencing who we were. Racism has its roots in the hatred of people of color and the fact that White people have long held beliefs they are superior to any other race of people. We see that in the treatment of Natives of the Land, and with all other minorities–and other immigrants who came to this country. While there are many people of color who have a preference to what they are called or how they are identified, I simply choose to be a Black American until “we are all considered Americans.”

What is astounding to me is that while people are clamoring about other people coming into this country to “take jobs,” not many are saying anything about those who came into this country and “took land” from those who were already living here. Who were those who came here–European immigrants–the colonists–who established themselves as the only right-living group of people and called those who were already here–savages–because they did not do things they way they did them.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The inscription on Lady Liberty–our gift from France–across the Atlantic from which many came was a recognition that many would come and we should welcome them, not debase them. And the only group of people that have been denied this liberty expressed are those who were “forcefully brought to this land” without having a choice in the matter.

And with all of the hateful rhetoric being stoked right now–by those who proclaim to be Christians, where exactly is the “spirit of The Lord” dwelling? Certainly not in the hearts of all those who hate and promote hatred. Not in the hearts of those who manufacture lies to make themselves look better. Not in the hearts of those who manipulate others into buying into their lies. Not in the hearts of those who crave attention and will do anything to get it.

How do we know? For where the Spirit of The Lord dwells–there is liberty and love–no hatred. Whatever abides in our heart will come forth like a mighty rushing river and pour into our immediacy and people will see and hear what is hidden in our heart–whether it is the Love of God or evil.

If we never learn to live God’s Word the way He intended us to live–loving all unconditionally, we don’t deserve to be called Christians. In fact, if we are not living The Word, we make a mockery out of being Christians because we are not following Christ when we choose to impose our consciences, our way of doing things upon others–negating their right to do things their own way. This is the “religious way of doing things” and Jesus called out the Pharisees for doing this.

I believe it’s reckoning time. We need to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask God to show us who we really are, accept it and be willing to allow Him to change us–being who He wants us to be, not what we have constructed ourselves to be with all of our built-in hate and animosity.

Until we get to this one point–there is only one race of people–the human race and like I said to someone yesterday who claimed the use of a hyphen is keeping us separated, it is not. “Until America accepts Black Americans as Americans, we will be always be a separate class of people. It is not the Black American who is creating a racial divide, but the White race who lives out their superiority complex and treats us as second class citizens.

My commentary today is not an indictment against all White people or all Black people or any other group of people, but it is a warning about where our country is headed if we don’t realize what we’re doing to one another. As a nation, we cannot afford to be divided in our purposes and intent for all Americans to be treated with equality. And if we exist as a divided nation rather than a nation unified with common goals, we will be captured by the evil that exist–inside and outside–our borders.

History has a way of repeating itself–especially if we refuse to learn from it. I suggest we all review the history of the land, recognize the wrongs committed and determine not to repeat them–again, and again, and again.

We don’t need a nation of people who are religious; we need a nation of people who are in relationship with God, living His Word,  and following His lead in all things.

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