CHOOSING PEACE & LOVE OVER PAIN
CHOOSING PEACE AND LOVE OVER PAIN
There is so much discontent in the world today. It seems like very few people are actually happy. But I want to focus on my little corner of the world. The United States. However, we seem to be anything but united. I am profoundly sad because I am watching as our country comes unraveled. Hatred! Brother against brother. Rich vs. Poor, Black vs. White, Party against Party and Young against Old. There is more violence in one day than I use to see in months. The discontentment and hatred weighs heavy on my mind. In fact,at times I hurt over these issues and I am absolutely sure that I am not the only one. I am white, but I feel in my heart I must have a black brother somewhere in the country that is my age and he is feeling the same pain in his heart that I do. We are the same in many ways.
I will be 60 years old since I will soon see another birthday. The Junior High school I attended in the early 70s was an all black high school the year before I was bused in. We had black and white students. Mix in some Asians, Hispanics and we were the experimental melting pot. I had to get used to many changes. Yes, there was trouble at times. Sometimes we didn’t get along and I am sure we even hated each other. But not all the time. Much of the time we had fun and got along. We worked through it. The black teachers and the white teachers knew this was an important step. We had already come a long way thanks to great people that did the unimaginable. These forward thinking people did not respond to hate and violence with violence. The simply sat in silence. Civil disobedience. They endured beatings at times. Often. Sometimes I would see it on Television and sometimes I would witness the disparagement in person
Some listened to the silence. It broke our hearts. It screamed volumes to us about right and wrong. I wept because I was subjected to much violence as a child. I knew pain. I began to have empathy for these folks as fellow suffers. They were poor, I was poor. They dressed in seedy clothes, so did I. There families were riddled with alcoholism, so was mine. We had much in common actually. Eventually, we became friends. We played together and hung out together. I hung out with black, asian and hispanic people. A diverse group. Yes we would fight. Friends and brothers do. We would call each other all sorts of racist names. The anger would subside and we would play. We were a family of sorts melded together by proximity and economics.
In high school, I couldn’t dance. I was scared and yet there I was at our ROTC military ball with my date, best friend and his date. My friend Brenda, a beautiful black girl asked me to dance with her. My girlfriend didn’t mind. We were all friends. I had never danced with anyone and was scared to death. Everyone would know, “I wasn’t cool”. Bless Brenda’s persistence. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. Brenda grabs me by the hand and dragged me onto the middle of the dance floor and my heart almost beat right out of my chest. She smiled and began to dance and I was forced to move. As awkward as it was. I can only imagine I must have looked like a big goofy crane with some type a palsy. It must have been awkward for this sweet courage black girl that was willing to go out on a limb to be friends with me. I felt special and loved as a friend. I cherish her and the sweet memory to this day. I eventually became a good dancer and I owe my start to Brenda. My friend…
I also had my ass beat mercilessly by a black guy that shoved my girlfriend rather hard. I felt compelled to defend her honor. I was out matched. I often wondered what made him so angry. We never fought again. At times we would talk about, “stuff”. I had the feeling at times he as sorry about the incident. Both proud and stubborn. We didn’t discuss it. We just chose not to hate each other and to be civil. A good choice. I am sure today he was dealing with as many hardships at home as I was. We were both angry young men. I value that we chose not to hate and war with each other. Peace is as wonderful choice.
I had a friend in my 20s. Yes, he was black and I was still white. However, we would hang out quite a bit. We would take turns choosing what bar to go to. We tested limits. We were diverse and just searching for fun / trouble or something. We challenged each other to move outside our comfort zones. I would take him to a country bar or redneck joint and we would find girls to dance with and sometimes we found ourselves in uncomfortable situations. Of the racial kind. But it was fun. Then we would go into a predominately black bar and I would dance with the black ladies. And again, we would find ourselves in sticky situations. But the point is, we were friends and had each others back. We probably were not smart for testing the limits in some of the sordid places we chose to run our little social experiments but there was still something really cool at work here. We trusted each other enough to put ourselves in difficult settings knowing we could rely on the other. Trust is another wonderful thing.
When I went into the military my buddy that entered with me was a black man. Eddie. Yes, I was still white. Eddie was my friend. I trusted him. He trusted me. Even bought a car from him. We signed up for the army together and went through basic training together and our advanced training together. Eventually we lost track of each other. Life happens. But I have good memories. We struggled through things together. Buddies.
I would later be attacked by a black gang in Atlanta Ga. I was thrown down the escalator stairs and robbed. They left me alive thank God. I was bitter and scared for a long time. Eventually I worked past it. I refuse to hate anyone, especially a whole people group. This is what I believe: There are good people and there are bad people. Blanket statements are not a good way to describe people groups. Unless you like being wrong. Fast forward several years later I would find myself preaching in black churches and communities. I spent years engaging in inner city ministry and missionary work. I received many hugs, smiles and handshakes.
I would have missed out on so much if I chose to allow hatred rule my heart. Later in adulthood I and a cherished friend became domestic missionaries. Yes, he black and I of course was still white. We developed a strong friendship. Roommates, missionary partners, many meals shared together. More like a brother than a friend. This great friendship never would have been formed if I gave into fear, hatred and prejudice. This is the thing that is interesting. Both of us had been in prison and both of us ministers. We were both bad people at one time and we both became better men. What changed us God!!! God changed us. Why? Because God loves us both and we both chose to let God change us.
We are at an important crossroads in our nation. It is imperative that we understand what is going on before it is too late. Think about these things. Pray for God to reveal the truth to you.
1. God made us all. Loves us all. One people group is not right, good or special based on color. And the other wrong because they are another color. Different colors placed on the same medium by God Himself to create His masterpiece.
2. There are two forces at work in the world: Good and evil.
3. We are all, “Black and White” are being manipulated by others for their purpose.
4. All wars make some people rich and more powerful. Others lose everything.
5. If one race turns against another in America, others will get rich from the pain and suffering of others. Black and White. Indian and Asian will suffer too.
6. If we must turn, why not turn to God and seek peace and love.
Is hatred going to solve any of the problems? No. Only cooperation and communication can build bridges. If the black man prevails and becomes dominate or equal to the white man, does it end there? No. Again revenge will rare its ugly head. Only love and respect for one another will nurture a relationship that will make one sacrifice for the other. “Greater love has no one than he that would lay down his life for the other”. Hatred build division and love brings people together. So what do we do. Allow rich people to get richer and more powerful over the black man and the white mans blood mixing in the street? Or do we seek the wisdom of God and peace. “I will keep in perfect peace who’s mind is stayed on Thee”.
In closing, the title of this article is, “The Coming Pain”. The immediate thought is, I will sacrifice and bleed for what I seek. That could be our choice. Then we eventually die. But the coming pain will be thrust upon an innocent generation or two or three. Children and grandchildren’s blood will run in the streets. All because we chose un-forgiveness over forgiveness. I say; have the courage to reach out and grasp the hand of fellow man. Lets not let our children experience the hatred and pain that can only lead us as a people to hell. We are told to forgive one another so that our Father in heaven will forgive us. Please pray for peace. We must work past our fears and lack of willingness to forgive. Refused to be manipulated by the media and warmongers. Our children and grandchildren’s future and very life depend on our ability to find love and peace.
Robert Newberry, “Sinner”