It’s been about a month or so since The Legend of Korra series ended and there’s much to discuss.
What I will NOT address are the implications that the main character of a children’s television show came out of the closet and walked into the “sunset” with her long-time friend turned lesbian lover.
Some will likely say that a show that deals with spiritual matters but that is clearly not evoking the Kingdom of a Christian God (steeped instead in eastern meditative philosophies and reincarnation) is something that I shouldn’t have even been watching. Admittedly, it became a somewhat guilty pleasure for me but I’ve managed to find some awesome Korra-lations that I’d like to expound on relative to my Christian walk and beliefs from the series:
My reflection on Korra begins with a quote from a review I read that summarized the series and marveled at its ending:
The Legend of Korra now exists for the ages as a complete set, tracking Korra from being a cocky teenager with the emotional maturity of a high school freshman…
I Was a Late Bloomer
Much like Korra, when it comes to my Kingdom understanding of the power that works on the inside of me (see Ephesians 3:20) by way of the Holy Spirit, I was a late bloomer. Though I had known and believed in God and Jesus since my early childhood, much like Korra, I didn’t come to a truth of just how inept I was in dispensing God’s power into the earth until I was much older.
The Pride of False Humility
Despite her strength, she struggled against adversaries that should have been easy to overcome had she paid attention to her training and cast off pride and its counterpart of false humility once she realized her shortcomings.
The Wreckage of Restless Recklessness
Korra had her powers bestowed on her as a youth. Though she had plenty of time to learn how to wield them, the series opened up with showing us the reckless abandon she had in dealing with opponents (both external and internal to herself). Anger often drove her futile attempts to put her enemies at her feet. I too struggled with attempting to access the power of the Holy Spirit to place Christ’s foes beneath His feet (see Acts 2:35) with feats that were motivated not in love and compassion for those who needed my assistance but in anger against the enemy I was confronting.
Encompassed by Compassion
Korra’s avatar character is very Christ-like. In much the same way that characters such as King Cyrus of the Bible (who was a non-Israelite king) were called Messiah in that they salvaged the Hebrew nation from the brink of destruction (i.e. salvation), Korra said something that was very profound in the last episode. She had gone through a debilitating injury that left her wheelchair bound and embarrassed as the savior of her world and struggled with why she had to be weighted down with her health burden.
She eventually came to realize, though that suffering helped her relate to the people she was meant to serve despite having authority over them. She learned compassion and even learned to empathize with her human rivals who all had their own hurts and ambitions that caused the root of their hearts to turn bitter and evil despite some well-aligned intentions.
Is this not what drove Jesus to help us when He emptied Himself of His Divinity to dwell among men?:
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation , and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and becameobedient unto death, even the death of the cross. - Philippians 2:5-8
My TRUE Strength is NOT My Own
At the end of the day, the Avatar series relays that the strength of the protagonists was not of their own; therefore, they had no right to wield it as they pleased for pleasure or to whom they felt deserved it. They were bowed and burdened with glorious purpose to serve the people/children of God – Who IS the source of our strength in the end.
These are some serious Christian lessons to be learned from a secular show.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. - Philippians 4:13
“Legend’s Aura: The Avatar State”
I move the earth when
I stir and fire up Steel
Waters through God’s heir.
“Rhyme Bender: Legend of the Lord’s”
When I write, I bend
Minds with rhymes and pens from the
Water flow within.
“A Mind Bending Korra-lation”
Water flow from the
Core of souls bends to God’s Will -
Not Korra’s control.
The Non-Silent Movement
Though I do believe that God is always speaking, I also believe that there are times when His silence is deafening. God IS the WORD so unlike us, He is NEVER at a shortage of things to say to us. He encourages us daily. He edifies us daily. He warns us… daily. He admonishes us… daily. He chastises us… daily. I may have listed more negative words here but He is a benevolent Father Who would much rather garnish us with words that prove He is Who He is in LOVE. But alas, the sin nature that is ever present and at work within us causes the need for correction.
I will never forget the times I have made my children cry from what I have said to them. They are young still (3 and 6 years old) – yet, they understand when I am disappointed in their decisions as much as I did when my mother broke me down to tears as a teenager with one simple sentence:
“I am disappointed in you.”
So I know that when I sit my children down to reproach them when they have done wrong, I understand why they sometimes burst out in tears. Words are powerful. But sometimes, the absence of words can have just as much of an impact.
I Have My Mother’s Eye
You know what that “sounds” like…. rather, you know what that LOOKS like! I have inherited my mother’s glare that I now administer to my children from time to time. Oftentimes, there are just no words to address the foolishness that they have repeatedly allowed to be bound in their hearts. As a parent, I have developed an ability to know when the words I’ve spoken aren’t lost on my children and that a moment of silence is all that is needed for a total recall to set in lest something that neither parent nor child wants to have happen to them… happens: releasing the rod of correction.
Don’t Make Me Come Down These “Stares”!
Parenthood is awesome, though because it gives us a glimpse into how God deals with us. Many times, when we perceive Him to be silent, He may be giving us the stare down like “Don’t make me come down these stairs (did you catch that?!!)! He may be giving us a moment to recall to mind His Word(s) which CANNOT return to Him void. His silence may be buying us time before unleashing chastisement that is promised from a Father Who ultimately loves us despite ourselves:
5 ‘And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth , and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence : shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live ?
10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure ; but he for our profit , that we might be partakers of his holiness.
11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.’ - Hebrews 12:5-11
I Have My Father’s Guise
I was reminded further of the effectiveness of the quiet before the storm when I gave a student a brief moment of silent treatment in my office. After thoroughly explaining to the student how he ended up in my office unable to register for classes due to an unpaid balance and why it would be a disservice to him to allow him to register with neither a plan nor the resources to incur more charges, I simply sat still and said nothing as he begin to reiterate his request for an exception and continued to come up with excuses to avoid a penalty he brought upon himself versus accepting responsibility for what he had been warned would happen throughout the semester. The silence allowed him to digest the matter and realize that what I had told him was justified and hence, would not change.
Have you been listening to what the Lord has been saying to you? Are YOU letting it register?
President Obama recently delivered a pretty good sound bite that has been reverberating through the field of education for about a week now after he suggested making community college free for those willing to work for it.
Having restarted my career in the education field through a community college, I have a unique perspective on this idea. Though I started out in a community college, I have worked the last 7 1/2 years in a private institution; as such, I have experienced a sky-rocketing of financial preparedness as I shifted from talking about tuition costs in the hundreds to tuition, room and board costs in the tens of thousands.
As such, aside from becoming a student advocate, I’ve also become a bit of an advocate for national tuition reform. So while the tuition reformist in me loves the idea of reducing the costs of education for our nation’s college students, the rational financial planning consultant in me took over very quickly.
Making something free comes at a cost to someone. Simply stated, waiving tuition fees altogether for even a small demographic of students would cripple many community colleges. In fact, it would run many right into the ground. Many would go bankrupt – thus eliminating viable options to offset costs of a four-year degree for students across the U.S. Major thought and careful consideration needs to be brought to the table for taking this sound bite more seriously before I’m sold on the precedent that the state of Tennessee has set. There is something going on behind the scenes in Tennessee that is NOT going on here in the Land of Lincoln and shrinking MAP grants.
Now I’m no conspiracy theorist so I kept my thoughts to myself but shortly after gathering my concerns, I was able to have them validated by the current president of the community college I used to work for. In a leadership meeting for the region of Elgin, I got a chance to hear from my former employer’s top brass. He echoed a very similar yet politically correct sentiment. He lauded President Obama’s initiative but with obvious reservation. “Show me the money!” is what he said after stating a few not-so-surprising facts.
He gave as an excellent history lesson on how community colleges came about but I’ll not bore you with reading all the details of it here. What was most interesting was the commitment to community colleges that the state of IL made back in the 1960s when it became a national discussion. IL committed to funding roughly one-third of the costs of community colleges – with the other thirds coming from tuition costs and state taxes, respectively.
Here’s the kick in the head: IL apparently loves rhetoric and sound bites as well because it never put its money where its mouth was. To be accurate, IL only put 10% of its money where 33% of its mouth had been. Thus, IL community colleges have had to get by off taxes and tuition hikes to compensate for the ever dwindling financial support that public institutions of higher learning like Elgin Community College (ECC) need. Show me the money, indeed.
ECC’s president gave me the courage to speak my hypothesis out loud. You see, ECC has undergone massive expansion and remodeling in the 7 1/2 years that I have been gone. The campus is a beautiful testament to progress and commitment to quality in community education… but it all comes at a cost. Tuition (and property taxes) have crept up steadily over that period of time… but something interesting has also developed on campus.
To support the restructured buildings, ECC is seeking sponsors and benefactors. There has been a carrot dangled in front of investors that have put buildings up for sale that have been giving generic titles – renaming them from specific pre-construction names to temporary, alphabetical names in post-construction. The purpose of doing that is to offer any investor a chance to see their name up in lights! Whoever drops enough cash in a given building can have it named after them! Now this isn’t necessarily new – donors have been having buildings dedicated in honor of their memory many years before this proposal made the light of day. However, this proposal could mark/spark a new era.
We may be entering into the age of sponsored colleges, people! If you thought it was awkward to hear the Lakers’ stadium be forever referred to as the “Staples Center”; will NEVER call the Sears Tower the “Willis Tower” just because some billionaire purchased it; and cringe at Tostito’s Fiesta Bowl, much like eating Tostito’s chips late at night, this might just put a bad taste in your mouth. Colleges will have to go up for sale just to keep the doors open and free to the public.
Is this necessarily a bad thing? Maybe not. Maybe the trade-off to free tuition is good enough to warrant this transition that ECC is setting its own precedent in… but what if, hypothetically speaking, ECC becomes Chrysler Community College?The only question I’ll have for the education arena in IL is: What’s driving you – the value of education or the profit?
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying , This man began to build , and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
- Luke 14:28-31
This morning, my son needed a reminder on why and how we pray. He woke up with congestion and when I suggested that he pray over himself, he said that he just did not get it even though we have been practicing his active participation in this for at least half of his life.
God gave me a really simple correlation for him to understand. I asked him what he would do if there was something in the kitchen that he wanted and needed but could not reach. His response was easy: he would come ask for my or mommy’s help. I explained to him that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are in spiritual, heavenly places with access to ALL spiritual blessings (such as healing) that we cannot reach on our own.
‘ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.’ - Ephesians 1:3
When I asked him what asking me for help looks like relative to God, he said ‘speaking in tongues’ as his first answer. While I told him that this is correct, speaking in tongues (which is praying in God’s kingdom language and something he hasn’t done yet) is just another way to pray (which is in a known language he HAS done).
The unbelief of his natural man began unfurling on the spot as he began tearing up a little bit. Regarding spiritual matters, the natural man counts such things as foolishness and would rather remain in darkness than embrace and comprehend the light of Christ.
‘ But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.’ - 1 Corinthians 2:14
That sickness in him has one less place to hide out now.
While we didn’t pray, he received a revelation that his mother (who was brought up to speed on this exchange) will later act on when she then asks him to pray to his Father Who is in heaven for his healing.
God the Father is good! He desires for us to understand and relate to Him so much! What will you let go of to embrace Him more and be delivered from any given area of bondage/sickness in your life?
‘If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?’ – Luke 11:11-13
REPENT. ASK. RECEIVE. REPEAT!
MANU FORTI MINISTRIES, LLC
“Speaking LIFE to unlock the POWER within YOU” ™
These holiday car commercials have worn down my mind over the years like old tires in the driven snow.
Simply put, the people that really have the means to buy a car as a present for Christmas don’t need to be sold on the idea. If the rich don’t really need to be motivated to burn money/rubber in “laps” of luxury, then that begs the question, who is being targeted with these commercials?
When I shared my thoughts with a close friend of mine, I was told that I am taking it too seriously. This same person then stated they were just happy to see black families being ‘represented’ in these commercials now. My good friend unwittingly proved my point of disdain.
These commercials target those who desire to have and spend wealth but don’t necessarily have all the resources to do so. Those two types of drives are bound to collide into an accumulated crash course on consumer debt… all for the sake of a happy holiday.
I would rather not be indebted in gratitude to such gratuitous foolishness. Break every (snow) chain. Live (debt) free this season.
“Holidaze Drift: Impure as the Driven Snow Job”
Ads that sell cars as
Great Christmas gifts are impure
As the driven snow.
MANU FORTI MINISTRIES, LLC
“Speaking LIFE to unlock the POWER within YOU” ™
Bow your head and close your eyes. That position can be interpreted as one of deference for the personage of whomever you are submitting yourself to. It seems right. It even feels right (after years of doing it). There is a time and place for it relative to the time that you commit to coming before the Almighty God in reverence to Him, gratefulness or repentance. However, the absolute WRONG time and place to bow your head while praying is in the middle of war.
‘Watch and pray , that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ - Matthew 26:41
‘Watch ye and pray , lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.’ - Mark 14:38
‘Take ye heed , watch and pray : for ye know not when the time is.’ - Mark 13:33
‘Watch ye therefore, and pray always , that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.’ - Luke 21:36
Jesus mentions this different positioning four times in the Gospel whereby we are to WATCH AND PRAY. We are to watch and pray for the enemy. This makes sense when we remember that he is described as a thief who has come to steal, kill and destroy as a lion who prowls seeking whom he may devour. In the latter reference, we are even told to be vigilant which is rooted in the word “vigil” which Merriam-Webster defines as both “the act of keeping awake at times when sleep is customary (period of wakefulness)” and “an act or period of watching or surveillance (watch).”
The type of watch that is described here alludes to an anticipatory action. It’s almost like a snake handler who watches the snake for the key time to strike or counter-strike. Even in war, there are is a group of soldiers called a “sortie” which, after crouching together, will launch out to attack at the opportune time. They are not huddled together for warmth, kicks and giggles – they are ready to STRIKE! They are not slumped in a trance with their heads in the sand, they are doing two things: they are watching their commander for the signal to GO (which is apostolic in nature) and they are analyzing the battleground and the movement of their enemy. Knowing your terrain and who you are fighting lets you know what you are dealing with. And brother/sister in Christ, though we walk in the flesh, we do not war in the flesh for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but MIGHTY through God to the pulling down of (spiritual) strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)!
Continuing on to verse 5 of the aforementioned scripture, we ought and need to cast down the imaginations in our minds that have convinced us that we are to be on defense all the time as Christians and that we do not have offensive plays to execute and weaponry to wield.
Simply put, we were never meant to be a spectator in the Kingdom – praying then stepping back to watch God move. When we do this, we relegate ourselves to be sideline spectators: praying while the game is being played with no real dynamic contribution. When we do that, we forfeit the game without even knowing it . When we do that, we forfeit the reason why God us in His image and likeness: to rule over the kingdoms of darkness with authority in this world so that it can be restored FULLY to God’s Kingdom We ought to stop forgetting WHO we look like. We are to pray and then watch God to see how HE would have US to move.
Is that not what Jesus did?
‘Then answered Jesus andsaid unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.’ - John 5:19 (emphasis added)
When Jesus saw sickness and disease advancing on God’s people, He looked UP towards His Father (which eyes wide open, not eyes wide shut in prayer) to see how He was handling that form of sickness on His own and mirrored it down here on earth as Christ saw it in heaven.
When Jesus saw someone oppressed by an unclean spirit, He stepped back not in awe or fear but to see how to stir up the type of faith (the belief God has in HIMSELF as bestowed to us through the Holy Spirit as both a gift and fruit) that might not be released except with prayer and fasting.
When Jesus saw injustice on earth, He LOOKED to God the Father in heaven for strategy; He didn’t mirror the flawed attacks of men in the earth on some ol’ “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” – shoot, he even put the soldier’s ear BACK on after Peter lopped it off in the garden of Gethsemane! Guess how He knew how to do that? He had seen His Father operate miraculously like that FIRST and did what he SAW!
He who lives by the sword dies by the sword yet, we ought to die daily to the flesh by the sword of the SPIRIT which is the Word of God! Would YOU want to go into battle with someone wielding a gun or sword with their eyes closed?!! Swing a battle ax at the cataracts on your eyes! Receiving revelation, wisdom and understanding concerning how to wage war effectively against a spiritual enemy is of the utmost importance for YOU to help to usher Jesus’ return to the earth. Until all of His enemies are made His footstool with YOUR help, the heavens will continue to withhold Him.
‘And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.’ - Acts 3:20-21
The picture created for this article has images of Tim Tebowing. You may scoff at this in light of the direction of this article but let me ask you this: would it make since for Tim Tebow to have done his signature move during the middle of the game on the field? NO! Not only would he have been pursued and quickly captured by the opposing team, he would have lost a down the minute his knee hit the ground! He had to keep his head on a swivel until the end (zone) goal was reached. The other side to that is when the “next possession” came, he didn’t stay kneeling. He suited up and got right back in until the battle was fought to the fullest. Whether he locked a ‘W’ in the win column or not, he wiped the slate clean, put his back to the game and moved on to the next city – ensuring that a win neither made him complacent nor a loss kept him wallowing in defeat.
Stand up! WATCH, PRAY and ACT, people of God!
“Prayer (Warrior Side) Lines”
In kingdom warfare,
You were never meant to be
A spectator, sport.
‘And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come , he answered them and said , The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.’ – Luke 17:20
MANU FORTI MINISTRIES, LLC
“Speaking LIFE to unlock the POWER within YOU” ™
Half of the battle to be won in this Christian walk is being comfortable in the skin of your own hypocrisy. We are spirit and we are flesh. Those who have believed in their heart and confessed with their mouths the Lord Jesus (having said “Jesus is Lord”) as their risen Savior have a spirit that is salvaged and redeemed from eternal separation from God (death). But that flesh, though?!! It’s doomed! Until we get our resurrection bodies, it will continue to plague us as it continues to allow sin to live rent-free within it.
That means that I will continue to be a walking contradiction. That means I will continue to be diametrically opposed to the juxtaposition of the sin in my skin against my spirit which rests in Christ. Everyday, I have urges that I fight (win, lose AND draw!). Everyday, I have tendencies I’ve overcome come back over to entice me. Everyday, I do things that I do not want to do. Paul sounds less and less crazy to me as I begin to pour over my life with his God-inspired words (to the Romans) ringing in my mind:
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would , that do I not; but what I hate , that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then a law,that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am!who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.’ - Romans 7:14-25
That’s some heavy, twisted stuff, right?!! Let me make it plain with a lighter, real-life example.
I walk 20 minutes to work everyday, one way. Since upgrading to a smartphone with a nice glass screen, I’ve been very cautious and conscious about making sure I don’t place it somewhere on my person or in my bag that will cause the screen to get scratched. Though I walk to work, that is the end of my daily commute which begins with a brief drive to a train station and a not-so-brief train ride into the city. As such, I have keys on me. Since the weather has gotten colder, I try to position my belongings in such a way that I don’t have to fumble and struggle to access them in my big winter coat.
What that means is that I place my keys in one of four possible pockets. Now… what I tell myself everyday is “Self, make sure that you don’t put your phone in the same pocket as your keys, else you risk damaging it!” To which I simply respond “Okay” to make sure I know what it is that I want to do (not really, but you get the point!).
But it has NEVER failed that by the time I get to walking and listening to music or talking to someone on the phone through my earpiece, I end up putting my phone RIGHT in the same pocket as my keys! No matter what I try, it seems like I always end up putting my phone in the SAME pocket (remember, I have FOUR choices between two side pockets and two chest pockets) that I ought to avoid! When the weather got extra bitter one morning and I decided to take my glasses off, I even put the glasses in the same pocket as my keys!
Seriously?!! It really is half infuriating, half amusing. Wretched man, indeed! Who shall deliver me from this body?!!
Take the “will” Jesus!
MANU FORTI MINISTRIES, LLC
“Speaking LIFE to unlock the POWER within YOU” ™
The recent verdicts of George Zimmerman, Darren Wilson and the NYPD involved in the wrongful deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner have respectively garnered a lot of social unrest in recent days. Peaceful “die ins” and “hands up, don’t shoot” demonstrations, social media movements such as #ICantBreathe and #BlackLivesMatter along with senseless looting and rioting have spanned a spectrum of reactions.
Yet there is a reaction that stretches beyond time that has also withstood the test of time as one of the most controversial verdicts of the 21st century: the murder trial of O.J. Simpson.
WithIN the JUSTICE system, there exists loopholes upheld by the U.S. court of law that normally work against those without a voice who have been marginalized in society. So imagine the reaction when someone such as O.J. Simpson (who had transcended such marginalization) finds himself facing the judicial jaws of a life without parole. Imagine him being able to afford a competent and shrewd lawyer who was able to use said loopholes to manipulate a verdict that continues to be debated to this day some 20 years later? Further still, imagine that this lawyer was a black male who the system seems set to so faithfully entrap. If you will, imagine what kind of response would be garnered when, with such odds stacked against him, O.J. and Johnnie Cochran were able to actually beat the system that had been beating their kind (black men) to an imprisoned pulp fiction for generations.
O.J. did it. Indeed.
His case became a symbol of an unjust system being turned upon itself. Such cannibalization sent a booming cannonball into and over the war zones of black communities shrouded by the shadows of substance that embodies centuries of a country built off of denying undeniable rights to LIFE, LIBERTY and the pursuit of happiness to whomever the victories of history deemed to be unfit.
I was a junior in high school at the time of the trial and verdict so I couldn’t articulate how I or my black community felt. I did feel as though he was guilty yet I wasn’t too shaken up by the tumultuous joy that accompanied the outcome of the verdict.
Fast forward 20 years to the deaths of Travyon, Michael, Eric and a slew of other young black men and I now understand the reaction of a large majority of the black community. It’s almost as if it served as a precursor to the outcomes we’re reviewing today; but in fact, these outcomes existed 20+ years ago without the light of social media and personal camera phones to illuminate the LEGION of injustice in America.
The reaction was never about whether O.J. did it. People honestly cared less about O.J. and more about beating the system. A system that reaches verdicts with weak defense of the defenseless, weak prosecution of those who have ab/used lethal force in positions of authority, wrongful deaths and an apparent disregard for black life with the same level of insanity as freeing a murderer on the strength of rap bars passing as legal jargon such as “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!”
The verdict is in… sane.
Though most would never admit to this, many of us LOVE to be angry.
Particularly, Christians have a special type of anger that absolves us from moderating it when we call it “righteous indignation.” Righteous indignation allows us to be angry when we see sin in the world – and rightly so. But that anger most often times is channeled more towards the PEOPLE in the world who illustrate the sin more so than the sin or the real spiritual enemies behind them.
This is why we end up “hating” homosexuals instead of loving the person and hating homosexuality and the lust that is 1) the driving motivator behind it and 2) an extension of regular red-blooded heterosexual lust.
This is how we end up at odds with one another – spending time being pissed off (as liberal Democrats) at conservative Republicans who claim the same Christian set as we do.
This is how a saved person can curse you out worse than a sailor with what is stored in the abundance of their heart.
This is why and how churches split and demoninations… rather, denominations have formed in the past.
Anger is a slippery slope. Even after you direct it towards the devil and his minions, if one continues to operate in anger towards them more so than love and compassion for the person being oppressed as Jesus did, one will continue to be stuck in a rut.
Specifically, I’VE been stuck in a rut. Over the years, I’ve come to a better understanding and execution of the gift of the Holy Spirit that allows us to discern spirits. I can discern when some foolishness is happening in the background that is causing my children to act out or when a demonically influenced sickness is plaguing my family. Yet, I was so offended by the existence and operation of these influences that my anger got the best of me.
I would raise my voice and really Hulk out when the adversary reared his ugly head over and over again in our lives. This is were many of us are in the black community as we are still processing the injustices of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner – we can even throw the media’s treatment of and purported actions of Bill Cosby in there, too!
The sign below is a walking contradiction. If we believe that we are made in the image and likeness of God Whom 1 John 4:8 says IS love but we are ready to hate (which takes roots in and cues from unforgiveness) ANYONE within the same brotherhood of humanity we’re all a part of, there is something fundamentally flawed about that:
‘If a man say , I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brotherwhom he hath seen , how can he love God whom he hath not seen?’ - 1 John 4:20
‘Shouldest not thou also have had compassionon thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth , and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenlyFather do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.’ - Matthew 18:33-35 (for the full scripture, see Matthew 18:21-35)
But I get it. It’s cooler to quote Rick Ross in a protest than to pick God’s approach to love. Who does that when fighting for civil injustice within a corrupt, broken and imbalanced system?
Operating in a state of wrath and anger alienates us from the Holy Spirit Who has fruit such as faith, love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), meekness, temperance, gentleness and goodness; all of which stand in direct opposition and contrast to anger. It also separates me from the righteousness of Jesus and, in doing so, severs my connection to God Who has the BEST strategies to give us concerning overcoming anger, hate and injustice with love. If separated from my source of power, life and strength, I am weak in the battles that I wage.
I can remember being so angry that for anyone coming into a situation where I was dealing with some foolishness bound in the heart of my children, they would be hard-pressed to tell that I loved them and wasn’t upset with them. the harsh reality is that I used to get more upset at them for the sin within them that was largely beyond their ability to control. I have had to learn how to separate their actions from who God created them to be… and I’m still being graded on a curve in my efforts to do so.
Jesus showed compassion towards ALL – even the demoniac. He was firm in His addressing unclean spirits but He operated according to what He saw His Father in heaven doing (Who IS love, by the way) when He was moved by compassion for people bound up in the wages of sin.
Love is a constant and conscious work. Anger is a constant reaction. Both can have a lasting impact but only one can salvage a “world gone mad” through how the Son can work through YOU.
‘Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.’ - 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
‘Be ye angry , and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:’ - Ephesians 4:26
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