“Let’s Breathe Together”
I grew up a very angry young man during the beginning and height of the Civil Rights era in Chicago. At that time and even now Chicago was very segregated.
When my family moved to the Chatham neighborhood on the Southside it was almost totally Caucasian. Very and I mean very soon after African-Americans moved into the neighborhood Caucasians fled. My neighborhood Catholic grade school went from over 90% white in 1957 to over 90% black in 1958.
As a child I didn’t understand this and I didn’t understand the subtle seed of rejection that took root in my young heart until much later in life.
Why would folks not want to live by me? Did I stink? Was I ugly or dangerous? Was I inferior? Was I stupid?
I had to answer no to all of the above questions. I was top of the class intelligent, handsome and loved peace more than war.
Why then was I hated by a group of people who had never met me?
As I grew older I started to understand the monster - systemic racism. It was an invisible, insidious system of evil that hid behind power, wealth, privilege and a false sense of superiority that had to be protected by any means necessary.
Let me fast forward. My root of rejection blossomed into full scale rebellion. Since I couldn’t fight a system I couldn’t see my anger turned inward and I medicated my pain with drugs, alcohol and a nihilistic lifestyle devoid of any hope. I didn’t realize then that the spirit driving the evil system of racism was the devil himself and his agenda is to kill, steal and destroy. And he succeeded with many of the friends I grew up with.
Then through a series of events which I detail in my book, “Grasping At The Wind” I met Jesus.
Skeptical at first, I wanted no part of the “white mans religion” and resisted until God in His grace and mercy reached past my pain and rejection and poured His balm of healing into my sin sick soul.
It was then that the “light bulb” came on I experienced God’s love that enabled me to love myself and others with the same love He showered on me.
God channeled my anger into a lifetime of ministering to those still confused, angry and suffering from the pain of rejection through prison ministry and addiction recovery.
Am I angry about the state of the world and the events happening in our nation? Yes! Will I fight for justice? Yes! Will I allow my
anger to morph into hate and bitterness that will defile me and others? No!
I pray that I’m always in a position to be the change I want for the world through God’s love!
And as an Ambassador for the Kingdom of God, I offer that love to you (Romans 10:8-10).