In the aftermath of the continued execution of black men and woman by some law enforcement officials, I struggled to figure out what to write. I knew I had to write something, because my heart told me so. I watched my Facebook news feed fill with very raw and real emotions of pain, confusion, denial, anger and hate. I admit, I was ready to succumb to fear. I was ready to fall into compliance with whatever was being asked of me as an African-American, Christian, lesbian trying to save my children from harm.
I was ready to hide in the box that was handed me.
Oh, but then I remembered: “Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed” (John 8:36). There is a difference between being free and being free indeed. When a convict escapes from jail, they are free. But not free indeed. They are no longer bound by the walls and bars of prison. But instead, have only exchanged them for confines of fear and unrest, a much deeper and darker prison from which, there is no escape.
But, I am free indeed. America did not give me my freedom and, therefore, cannot take it away.
I am free to love who I want, live where I please, drive my car, sing my song, wear my hoodie, eat my Skittles, play in the park and speak my mind. I am free because my Lord Jesus Christ died to give me my freedom, and I will flaunt it as I please. I will wear it in my walk and in my talk. I will embrace it and celebrate it with my style and my dance.
I will not kowtow, placate or apologize for acting so…free. It’s mine, and it was bought with the Blood. It’s ironic that the enemy keeps spilling blood trying to buy it back.
“You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.”
Maya was right.
I rise above the fear, the hatefulness, the racism.
I rise above the people who ask: “Why is it always about race?” I don’t know. Why are you asking me? Why don’t you ask the ones who made it about race?
I rise above the limitations, the ignorance, the foolishness.
I rise above the crippling panic I feel every time my sons step out of the door. I rise above the undeniable urge to take an eye for eye, because I know that only leaves everyone blind.
I rise above the vile and sickening way the media slanders the slain and sensationalizes the insane, turning heroes into thugs and thugs into heroes.
How do I rise? By exercising my freedom. Not just my American rights, but my God-given rights. My right to love. My right to speak out on injustice. My right to enjoy my life. My right to be my brothers’ keeper. My right to love my neighbor. Even the racist murdering ones.
Don’t misunderstand me though.
Love is telling you when you are wrong. Holding you accountable for your actions. Taking away power and authority when you abuse it. Standing up for and protecting those you marginalize and murder. Making you aware that generations of brainwashing and propaganda have led you to embrace stereotypes and stigmas as facts. Yes, you drank the Kool-Aid, too.
In the story of the Good Samaritan, corrupt law enforcers are the thieves lying in wait, the hurt man is the black man, and the people, who change the subject or the channel, are the Priests and Levites. The Good Samaritans are the ones who don’t ignore the issues of race but instead acknowledge them. The ones who see the injustice and use their resources to help the hurting. The ones who are willing to put themselves in danger to save the dying.
That is what Jesus called “good”.
So, how can America ever be great, when we don’t know how to be good?