Wednesday, November 26, 2014

~ "The heart of the father..."

"And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:6)

Benjamin Watson is a tight end for the New Orleans Saints Football Organization.   In light of the trouble in Ferguson, MI, here is what this man had to say...

At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:

I'M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.

I'M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.

I'M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I'm a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a "threat" to those who don't know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.

I'M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.

I'M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.

I'M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn't there so I don't know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.

I'M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I've seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.

I'M CONFUSED, because I don't know why it's so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don't know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.

I'M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take "our" side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it's us against them. Sometimes I'm just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that's not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That's not right.

I'M HOPELESS, because I've lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I'm not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.

I'M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it's a beautiful thing.

I'M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I'M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that's capable of looking past the outward and seeing what's truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It's the Gospel. So, finally, I'M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

~ "More thanks and praise..."

"Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name." (1 Chron 29:13)

Once again, we see that giving thanks and praise is in order.  It must be important if we are reminded of is so often.

Giving thanks and praise is not limited to going to church on Sunday.  Giving thanks is just what it says: thanking God.  When you receive a gift in the mail, don't you opened and then call the person who sent it to you and say "thank you"?  Why would you not do the same for the gifts given by God?  Call out to him!  Thank him!

The same goes for praise.  We (parents) are very good at telling other how our children made us proud - we praise them openly and to anyone who will listen sometimes!  Why do we not openly praise God for all he's done in our lives?

When it is all said and done, Chronicles again reminds us that praise and thanksgiving are important pieces of a Christian's life!  Incorporate them into yours!  Say thank you every chance you get - for the little things (like an uneventful ride to work).  Praise him every chance you get (after you arrive at work on the uneventful trip, praise him for the job you have - some people aren't as fortunate).  Even if you feel you've already given thanks and offered praise -- it's okay to repeat it again!  Our heavenly Father does not get tired of hearing us thank him!