Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What do you see?

"If you judge people you have no time to love them." ~Mother Teresa

My family came from Arkansas. Both sides. Needless to say I grew up in a house filled with hatred. Hatred for what? Another man's skin color. The "N" word was regular in our home. It was a word I hated. Just to hear it made me sick. Growing up it is one I heard on a daily basis.

I am not sure how, but I escaped those feelings. Even growing up with them I never felt hate. I never thought, "Could they be right?" I always knew it was wrong. I never knew anyone of color. I didn't even know anyone of another race. It wasn't until I was in Cosmetology school that I met a black woman. This woman carried much love in her heart. She was funny, loving, and a woman I admired. She was the first person in my life to ever invite me to church. I went home that night excited to share with my parents, but was quickly let down. They informed me I would never enter a church where black people attended. Gosh, I didn't even attend a church where white people attended. My parents never walked through the doors of a church with me. I was so hurt. I didn't even know what kind of church my friend Alice attended, but I knew I wanted to go. Maybe I just saw something different in her. Something kind. Something I had never seen before. This woman was accepting me. She wasn't judging me. She didn't look at my color, but at my heart. Isn't that what we are to do? Does not the same blood run through all of us? We are all connected through One Savior. His blood touches us all and covers our sin.

I remember arguing with my parents. I remember their hurtful words. It was almost as though if I accepted people of color they were not going to accept me. It was a hard time for me. Here I was a young adult having heard this my whole life and still wondered, "Why do they feel this way?" Still today I do not know. It is something I just do not understand. I love the fact that we are all different. I love the fact that each heritage brings us all together in one way or another. There is so much to learn from each other. If we could only stop looking through eyes of color and begin to see the heart of man the world would be a different place. I learned from my friend Alice. I saw love in her, a love that I rarely saw in other people. She held a kindness in her speech and when she laughed her eyes lit up.

I mean, it's not as though my parents grew up rich or something. They were poor farmers. They picked cotton. They knew what life of struggle was. They never knew if they would eat the next day. Where does hate come from? Was it just passed down from their parents? Isn't that where most hate comes from? It is taught to us. We just accept it as truth. But in that acceptance we are missing out on a great deal of truth.

I grew up feeling ashamed of my white skin. I was ashamed that my family, not just parents, but aunts and uncles all felt the same way. Children do not judge. Children are taught to judge. Children are taught to see the difference in others. Is it fear that causes hatred? Is is unknown? I do not like the words minority and majority. What is that really except putting people of all races in a category? For me, there is no minority and most likely, I wouldn't want to belong to a majority. It is in that majority that we find hatred and indifference. What ever happened to One nation under God? What ever happened to one people?

There are good and bad in all people. We cannot judge that by color. To me, there is nothing worse than hate. Hate kills life. Nothing good can come of hate. Can we really believe in God if we are full of hate? Can we really have a faith in a Savior if we choose not to accept His children?

I may not agree with your ideals. I may not believe in your gods. But one thing we must do is respect another man's life. God does. God does not force Himself upon anyone. He wants all men to come to know Him, but He gave us free will. He gave us a choice. Who are we not to do the same for another man? Who are we to force our ideas on another? Whether it is race, religion or politics, can we all just agree to disagree on some subjects, but in that same breath respect the other for having an opinion? I don't want to force anyone to believe as I do. That should be a choice. If it is forced than it is really not from the heart is it?

We force our children to believe as we do. I think that is what happened to my parents. Ask my mom today why she feels the way she does and she cannot really tell you why. I think it was just the way of life and everyone did it, so why not join in? But you know, nothing is going to change until we stand up and begin to make a difference.

I think we can only gain from learning from others. Everything we know came from something. Our past, a hurt, there are many attributes to why we feel the way we do. Until we face them. Until we face our hearts we will never grow into the people God created us to be. I would not want another to force their beliefs on me anymore than I have a right to force mine on another. That isn't what God wants. He cannot reach others through hate.

It doesn't matter where we were born or what color our skin is. It doesn't matter if we are rich or poor. God sees the heart of man while we spend our time looking at the color of his skin. So, who is missing out here? We are. We are all created in God's image. Can you fathom that? It is hard to wrap our heads around isn't it? He can live in each one of us and through us, He can change the world.

It is time to stop the hatred and share the love of Christ. I can invite others to Christ through simply showing love and respect to others. May we begin today to stop looking at others and begin with ourselves. May we open up our hearts and peer inside, seeking why hate is there. By releasing hatred we make room for love.

"Judgements prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances." ~Wayne W. Dyer

Have you ever looked through a kaleidoscope? It is something of beauty really. All these bright colors are brought together to create something spectacular. You can hold the piece in your hands and begin to turn it, mixing the colors, bringing a new vision to light. Are we all not part of God's kaleidoscope? His beauty rests in all of His creation. Through Him we can see the cross. Through us we can see His love.
Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."
John 13:34-35 "A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Proverbs 10:12 "Hatred stirs up dessension, but love covers all wrongs."
1 Samuel 16:7 "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, ofr I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
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