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The Tactic Is Division

September 24, 2016

We spend so much time avoiding awkward conversations. Almost every thought is now carefully worded as so not to offend anyone. When a public figure does say something we deem politically incorrect, or even offensive, they are immediately vilified. Maybe they should be, but why can’t we just discuss their idea(s)? We don’t get any closer to really fixing hearts and minds by trying to control everything that is said.

The rioting going on in nearby Charlotte is heartbreaking. The world I live in, to my parents’ credit, was one of acceptance of others. Yes, we’re human and sometimes judge others, but I didn’t see it being based on the color of someone’s skin. Although, Dad does still notice every tattoo and piercing, bless his heart. My early childhood we lived in Perth, New York. There were many Spanish people, but I had never seen a black man in person until I was four or five. I don’t remember the meeting whatsoever, but Mom said I played with this man for quite a while, just the two of us. When we walked into the dining room, I announced to the crowd, “you know what? Joe is people too!” The fact of the matter is, racism is taught. It’s often handed down from generation to generation. Sometimes, I believe it’s a result of experience also. We don’t dare discuss that though, do we?

My high school in New Jersey had cafeterias divided by race in the 11th and 12th grade building. I don’t know if it’s still that way today. I also don’t remember anyone from the staff needing to tell us that. Yes, there were a few students who would be brave enough to enter the opposing cafeteria. Thankfully, no harm came from it, but how do separate eating areas even come about? How was that not worthy of a discussion?

I’ve mentioned Marvin Washington in other posts. He is my adopted big brother and he is black. Marvin is 6’9, and back then, was more than willing to fight someone. That didn’t stop other black students from calling him “white boy” within days of moving in with us. I imagine most of the teasing was done in fun, but I don’t really know. He and I have had talks lately about this crazy world, and he seems to understand it all as little as I do. I have a firm belief that the enemy, dare I say the devil, is happy to see all of this division. I also remember being jumped in the locker room by a black student. Fortunately we were split apart before the fight got too out of hand. What had I done to deserve being jumped? He said I made him look bad on the basketball court in gym class. It seems silly, but the idea that a white guy could play basketball was something he’d been taught could not be.

We need to have deep, face to face, loving, difficult conversations with others. The fact is, we’re all different, or unique. Breaking down the barriers of the obvious differences will only happen if we talk to each other. You may be fine. You may love everyone and have been able to forgive everyone else. Remember, it only takes one person to forgive, but it takes two people to reconcile! If both parties don’t get involved and one has any resentment whatsoever, there cannot be reconciliation.

This idea is not limited to race relations. How many marriages would have been saved had couples discussed the first few little offenses? If it’s something that really bothers you and you can’t get over it, to save a relationship there has to be communication! How did the two that became one all of the sudden become two again? Division. It’s the devils’ best tool. I believe you hurt yourself the most when you hold onto any grudge, but you’re also wrecking your relationships. Don’t turn your friends, neighbors and loved ones into enemies because you’re afraid to discuss things with them. If something bothers us to a point that it brings us down, we need to deal with it quickly.

On a side note, our political establishment teaches us division all day every day. Pray for our country, pray for our leaders and pray we can have honest, open discussions. True change can happen, but the bride of Christ, his church, needs to facilitate it. If you’re a Bible reader, I would encourage you to read Matthew 5:21-26. Jesus’ words are so much more powerful than mine. Be uplifting in your speech. Love each other and just talk! This world’s too big for all of us to be right all of the time.

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