The Power of Giving the Love You Need

Have you heard the expression, “you can’t love someone else until you first love yourself?” This saying can mean a lot of things depending on who you ask. Thinking on this saying recently, in context of scripture, and spiritual truth, I see its validity. Until you can honestly deal with who you are, and why you act and think as you do, you are ill prepared to truly love and know someone else. Remember, I am talking about love from a scriptural and spiritual sense. This is different than the strong emotional attachments that people often refer to as love. Emotional attachments are often based on a perceived need for another person. The spiritual love I am referring to is based on a desire to assist in fulfilling someone else whether they reciprocate it or not. Though you hope they appreciate it, this isn’t a dependency. In the case of intimate love, it is the desire to know someone in context of their life experiences to better communicate with them.

If you have not begun to understand your own faults, desires, likes and dislikes, interest and concerns, values and beliefs, as they relate to your own experiences, how capable will you really be at understanding someone else. Until you have contemplated your own humanity with its frailness, limitations, and dependencies, you are ill prepared to show someone else the compassion and empathy required to embrace them equally as human and worthy of love just as you have need. The second, of the two great commandments, is to love our neighbor as our self. This is the second commandment because it is impossible without the first one. The first commandment is to love GOD with all our heart, mind, and strength. This love for GOD comes after we experience GOD pouring out all of His blessings upon us, loving us in our current condition just as we are, thus receiving grace to be just who we are until we are capable of change. We learn that GOD is the source of all love and it is our connection to Him that enables us to love others. The stronger the connection to Him, the greater our capacity to love. GOD knows the love which flows from Him is the world’s greatest need. The Lord knows that at the least, we should all be able to acknowledge that our fellow humans have the same needs as we have, with that first need being grace and empathy.

It can be uncomfortable, even painful, looking into the things we have experienced that shaped the person we are today, and it is natural to be reluctant to take that conscious walk through our soul. GOD enables us to take this journey by walking with us in an atmosphere of grace, mercy, and tender love. He informs us that our truest nature is that of a super-natural being, thus motivating us to push beyond natural tendencies and limits to realize our true potential. Through loving, we assist GOD in the act of fulfilling others. To “full-fill” correctly, you have to take the time to know what is needed. Someone else may have different needs than what we have but because of the universal need we all have for continued grace and mercy, we are compelled to show them the same concern.

One of the greatest needs in the world today is the overall ability to recognize one another as equally human. The prerequisite for taking the next step forward is every man first taking a sober look at themselves in light of mercy and truth. Once you are familiar with your own humanity you will find you are part of a great family mutually dependent on one another to realize our fullest potential. We really do deserve the treatment we give others because we are in effect doing it to ourselves. If we could get a glimpse of what our society would look like if we empowered everyone to be their best self with equal opportunity and support, we would realize just how much we have been robbed by the evils of deception, fear, and hate. The change needed in the world begins with addressing the changes we need individually. We must first love ourselves enough to hear our own hearts cry and work with GOD in freeing ourselves. After that, we will be more cable of giving a love which makes life better for all.

Be of Good Cheer, Christ Makes Us Overcomers

I watched a Netflix special yesterday called, “The Social Dilemma.”  This docudrama did a great job of presenting the conundrum we face today as a result of the devil’s work. The devil’s work is obscuring truth. In fact, toward the end of the film there is consensus amongst the experts interviewed that the problem we face today with the growing division is the difficulty civilization faces trying to ascertain truth. The hopelessness in their tone was palpable. Christ taught that if we meditate in His word to know His will unto obedience then we would know the truth and the truth would make us free. We live in a world where the wealth of most nation has been built on the bondage of people. This bondage has consisted of fetters on the body and the mind. This bondage is perpetuated through the suppression of truth. This suppression has taken the form of book burnings, censorship, deceit through omission of facts, and deceit through diluting of facts. The strength of deception is idolatry; a desire for something above the desire for truth. The only way to find true north and to stay on course in such a whirlwind of deception is to maintain a pure heart through the power of Love.  True love that cares for all others as much as for one’s self. The establishment of this love in the hearts of men is the mission of the gospel. The Bible teaches us that love is the fulfillment of the law since love commits no evil against its neighbor. If we don’t have the power to love, then we are doomed.

The light of the Gospel allows us to see love and to differentiate it from selfish and destructive behavior. When we make a determination to deny the expression of selfishness from our lives, we make a way for love to be glorified in us. Love is more powerful than selfishness and truth is more powerful than deception. GOD is love and truth, and Christ is the expression of GOD. Salvation is the process of submitting to the rule of love and truth from your heart. It takes time for the spirit of GOD to walk us through the deceptions we have been contaminated with. The Lord walks us through our soul, liberating us by identifying and dispelling falsehoods and establishing truth. He is fully committed to this work in us and gives us grace and mercy throughout the process, but we must be committed as well. This is why we must daily take up the cross. In other words, this is why we must daily make a fresh commitment to yield to the work of salvation.  Teaming up with GOD in this way will eradicate sin from our lives…permanently! If we continue in sin, it is due to ignorance, the lust of pride, or unbelief. This is a very simple view of salvation, but it is needed because evil has made it so complex. My sincere prayer for you is that you will have peace and joy through unity with GOD by embracing the full gospel of Christ.

The Structure of True Religion

I have heard many who confess to follow Christ say that they are not in a religion but a relationship. In fact, I have said this in the past myself. However, as I have grown wiser and more knowledgeable through my relationship with GOD, I have come to a better understanding of the relationship between the two. Many of the negative ideas I originally held regarding the Christian religion came from its misappropriation by those being intentionally deceitful and those ignorantly following the blind which were leading them. Our heavenly Father never intended for Christian religion to operate separate from a relationship with Him. The influence of Satan, the great deceiver, is very evident in the many counterfeits being circulated today. Another example is the US has been accepted by many as a democracy however it falls short of the tenants of a pure democracy because many of the people born in the US have not been allowed to vote, and the electoral college dilutes the power of the vote represented by actual people. Tax paying people with black and brown skin, born in the US, are referred to as citizens however they have been historically denied the basic citizen right of equal protection under the law. So, this demographic has not actually been recognized as full citizens. Again, it is much like the many people condemning socialism and communism though we have never had a country on earth to operate in the pure ideals of them as expounded on by Marx and Engels. The names were misappropriated by countries like Russia and China though these countries have never employed all the key components.

These are just a few other current day examples of how people have been deceived and excepted counterfeits. Until you foster a love for truth which drives you to seek GOD’s face and study His word, Satan will continue to exploit your natural love for comfort and pleasure. The truth is disruptive to the false. Truth tears down the false to make way for a true and eternal foundation and structure to be built.

Religion is defined by Merriam Webster as a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices; a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith. We can take from this definition, in relation to Christianity, that Christian religion would be a system of attitudes, beliefs, and practices held with ardor and faith. So, by definition, there is no separation between the practices required in a religion and the relationship by faith which empowers them. The problem again is that we have seen Christianity misrepresented, resulting in misunderstandings, confusion, and denunciation.  As I mentioned earlier, the Father never intended for any actions to take place outside of a relationship with Him. When you read Christ reproving the pharisees and Sadducees, you see Him addressing religion without relationship.

“But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Luke 11:42 KJV)

Christ is saying true religion is doing both. Look at this parable taught by Christ.

10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:10-14 KJV)

Again, both are required by Christ the King. This guest was clearly called a friend, however He failed to comply with the prescribed system or practice of preparation. We are also taught by the apostles James and Paul that it takes both to be complete. James says faith without works is dead, and a man isn’t justified by works alone or faith alone (see James chapter 2). Paul says without love, the essence of the relationship, he is nothing and none of his religious acts mean anything (See 1 Corinthians chapter 13).

At issue in the separation of faith and works is the practice of sacrifice on both sides. On the side of works oriented devotion, there is the sacrifice of effort and busyness being offered for justification and validation. On the side of faith only oriented devotion, there is the sacrificial love of GOD being used as justification without the reciprocal sacrificial love unto the laying down of personal will in obedience.

GOD is clear, He desires obedience over sacrifice. Christ did not give himself to become a common sacrifice for sins, like the old testament practice of yearly sacrificing bulls, rams, and doves. He gave Himself once to fulfill the requirements of the old testament law forever, which was ruled under the law of sin and death. He has now ushered in a new covenant which is ruled by the law of life and spirit. The resurrection life we inherit from Christ is the life of a dear and obedient son of GOD.

You man of faith, are you going before GOD reminding Him of the sins He has already remitted because you are not exercising true overcoming faith; the faith which David used to defeat Goliath, the faith Joshua used to take the promised land. Doesn’t your faith tell you that the very life of Christ is in you to do His works; to live righteously, to fill the hungry, to free the oppressed, to counsel the fatherless, to give shelter to the homeless, to please the Father. When did you go beyond yourself to demonstrate that you trusted Him? Just something to consider.

You who are busy in works, have you ever just sat with someone broken and not tried to fix them? Just sat with them and listened and only gave a solution if they asked for one, or do you feel pressed to say something or do something? Have you ever just sat and cried tears of joy because you knew in that moment, GOD’s love was perfect for you and you felt His arms around you? Have you ever sacrificed for someone and told nobody, but just praised GOD for allowing yourself to be used?

These are the manifestations of confidence in GOD’s love for you and belief in His promises. These examples are glimpses at the works of faith, the fruit of true religion.

Shining Light On “Matter”

If a sheet of paper is sold but is never printed upon to be seen or read, how much did it really matter. If that paper is used to relay a message of hate or death, did it ever become something of value. I know these are somewhat relative questions, but I want you to ponder the message of your life. Your life is like a blank sheet of paper produced to deliver a message to all who encounter you. What is the message you were created to deliver? What is the impact of the message you display and how well do you know the author? The late Dr. Myles Munroe once said, “Where purpose is unknown, abuse is inevitable.” If you haven’t pondered the questions above regarding your life, then by definition you have not made your life “matter.” Matter is defined as the subject under consideration. There are many others with considerations for your life, but what is most important is the message the Creator has given you to share. Purpose can only be discovered in the mind of the Creator because He holds the reason why you matter. Matter is also defined as the substance a physical thing is composed of, however without the first definition I gave, the second one really doesn’t matter. As sign can be composed of wood, metal, or plastic, but what really makes it matter is the message it signifies like, Stop, Entrance, Exit, or Dead End.

Before you dismiss your existence as a mere accident, irrelevant, or without purpose, consider these facts. For you to be reading this the following occurrences had to take place precisely. You had to be selected from 6,000,000 eggs to make a group of 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 by 40 weeks; From that 1,000,000 or 2,000,000 you had to be selected from a group of around 300,000 within the next 12 or so years; then of that 300,000 or so you had to avoid being apart of the 1,000 eggs eliminated every month for the next 144 months (if your mother gave birth to you around the age of 24). Each month, while trying to avoid elimination, of the remaining hundreds of thousands of eggs, only 1 egg will be selected for a chance to be fertilized. When you were chosen to be that egg, there still had to be coordination between two people who had undergone the same selection process, and they had to meet at the right moment in all of time, and at the right place in all of space and then come together during an opportune moment which lasted about 10 to 24 hours. Why that egg, union, and earth day was chosen for you is revealed through a relationship between you and your Heavenly Father, the Creator. The key words in all that I have shared are “chosen” and “selected.” These words infer purpose because the coordination of your life took a mastermind, not chance.   

For something to have matter, it is only because it first mattered. Purpose proceeds creation. Love is what nurtures and reveals that purpose. GOD is love. Fulfill your purpose by seeking GOD through studying and applying the principles of love which are revealed through holy scripture and creation.  

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV)

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse… (Romans 1:19-20 KJV)

Our lives matter more than we or others tend to know. By walking in the discipline of Love, we ensure the time we have is leveraged for the best outcomes.

Encouragement for Fathers

Fathering

“I would like to focus on the father in the family as being the seed bearer. It is the father’s responsibility to ensure that his likeness or kind is preserved for all time. It is the father’s responsibility to secure a lasting legacy, and to preserve a heritage for generations to follow. The main way a father does this is by ensuring that his fruit understands who they are based on their heritage. As a young boy begins to frame his perception of manhood, he will undoubtedly try to identify with his father. The son will open his heart to his father to receive instruction. If the boy’s father has accepted the seed of God, through the salvation of Christ, then he will have divine seed to sow into the heart of his son. As a man is fathered by God, God sows into him all he needs to be a father. The man is then able to reciprocate this down into his own son. A father does not have to be flawless in order to share the seed of God as a good father. A father only needs to be transparent about his fierce dedication to reflect God’s love in raising the child. The rest God will take care of.”

The paragraph above was taking from chapter 2 of my book, “True Heritage: Recovering from Spiritual Identity Theft”. I would like to unpack this sentence from the excerpt above, “A father only needs to be transparent about his fierce dedication to reflect God’s love in raising the child.” I have two daughters and two sons from my marriage. My preference as a father, was to always see my children smiling and laughing, enjoying life. My preference would have ruined them, because the breadth of life includes much more than just good times. This is why Holy Scripture tells us that when we withhold godly reproof and correction, we spoil or ruin our children. Godly reproof and correction involve orienting the heart of the child towards love; the discipline of looking beyond your own desires and preferences to achieve works that benefit all. All humans are born with the perspective of themselves in the center of the universe. Everything is relative to what they need or want. Only the love of GOD can change this orientation. If parents have not been broken and rebuilt by the love of GOD, the parent will raise their children based on their own needs and wants, and the child, as soon as they are able will also exercise their own power to express their preferences, and we end up with the world looking much like it does today. I thank GOD almighty for enduring my rebellion, my anger, my kicking and screaming, my self-inflicted sorrows, to do what was required to save my soul, to rescue me from the bondage of pride and selfishness. We have to parent by faith, not looking at the present, but acting from the hope anchored in the promise of that which is to come, the birth of a godly man or woman. GOD tells us, if we do the hard work on the front end, we will get to rejoice at the latter end.  The book of Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”(KJV)

Fathers, your family and friends may try and shame you for being hard, for requiring the glory you know that has been bestowed inside your children, for not compromising your faith in doing it GOD’s way however, stand! Whole the line! Satan wants to destroy everything which reflects GOD. Since we were created in GOD’s image, we have a large target on our head. Family, the means of procreation, is under assault. Fathers protect your families fiercely. I am not talking about using guns and assault weapons, because they won’t keep Satan from spoiling your house. More families are spoiled from the fifth columns of affairs, ambitions of success, and empty religion than external forces.

“The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.” (2nd Timothy 2:6 KJV)

It will be impossible for you to place your children on the altar of GOD if you have not been there yourself. I trust GOD with my children’s lives because I first trusted Him with my own. You reap, what you sow. Endure the pain. You will sow in tears, but you will reap in joy! If you have sown good seed, the good harvest will come. There are no enduring lies or facades. If you have not sown good seed, you may have a tough road ahead. It is easier to raise whole people than to fix broken ones, but all things are possible with GOD. There is still hope. I was not raised in a godly home. In fact, by age 13, I had experienced both sex and drugs, but by age 21, I had taken up the cross of Christ in abandon to His love. My heavenly Father GOD leveraged my pain, His mercy and grace, the prayers of the saints, and the powers of the Heavenly Host to rescue me. I know He will do the same for each of my children, and for you and yours.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13 KJV)

That is a promise of GOD which has not expired. You can claim it, and you can still teach and encourage your children to claim it as well. Be encouraged!

https://www.amazon.com/True-Heritage-Recovering-Spiritual-Identity/dp/1641114576

 

 

 

My Two Cent

2 Cent

Time to level set. White people don’t need to make anything right with black people. Their focus should be the same as the focus of all people, getting their hearts right before GOD. The GOD who without respect of persons, has commanded all mankind to love their neighbor as themselves. We have all at some point been guilty of abusing our neighbor. Whether it has been, white people abusing black people, black people abusing black people, men abusing women, society at large abusing the mentally handicapped, or Americans abusing foreigners; it is all wrong, and we have all been guilty. Let him who is without sin cast the stones or start the shooting. It is only by all of us reconciling with GOD, that we are able to fine true peace with one another.

The phrase “Black people” has become synonymous with “disproportionately.” Black people are disproportionately killed and prosecuted by the legal system, disproportionately imprisoned for the same crimes as other, disproportionately affected by COVID-19, disproportionately affected by unemployment, disproportionately denied loans by financial institutions, disproportionately marginalized in the cooperate sector, and I could go on and on, but these are the facts which substantiate the outcry “Black Lives Matter.” All of the problems which disproportionately affect Black people come as a result of the three branches of our government not taking an equal interest in the well-being of Black people.

As Dr. King stated, “A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It follows that a threat to equality anywhere is a threat to equality everywhere, and a threat to community anywhere is a threat to community everywhere, and the suppression of truth anywhere is an invitation to darkness everywhere, and a denial of humanity anywhere is the doom of humanity everywhere.

Absolute Love is the answer.

Being About Your Father’s Business

 

Faith in business

The injustice in the world today is nothing new and neither is the source. The book of knowledge and wisdom tells us that the love of money is the root of all evil. This truth indicates that those in business are closest to the root of the problem, since business is the means by which money is exchanged. 1st Timothy 6:10 is the origin of this often misquoted maxim.

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Tim 6:10 KJV)

The phrase “love of money” in this verse comes from the Greek word “philarguria”, which translates to fondness of silver. This word comes from part of the same root as the Greek word “Philanthropia”, which translates fondness of mankind, and is where we get the word philanthropy. If you look at the meaning of each of these words, then it becomes clear what the bible is trying to relay in the verse cited above. It also becomes clear why there is so much chaos in the world today.

The cited scripture is not in reference to everyone. It speaks of people erring from the faith. We know the faith in reference because this quote comes from a Christian bible. True Christianity is based on faith in the testimony of Jesus Christ, who gave His life to save mankind. So, without question, we know that Christianity is founded on a love for mankind. This understanding explains why the love of money is then considered erring from the faith. Those who confess to follow Christ should exhibit a love for mankind instead of a love for money.

To my Christian brothers and sisters, what is reflected most in your business? Is it the love of mankind or a love of money? Do you put what is humane and equitable before what is financially profitable? History is polluted with the business of putting money before humanity. Just look at the history of America. We know that the love for Africans did not exceed a love for the profit to be made from their enslavement. We know the love for Native Americans did not exceed the love for the profit to be made from their lands. Is this just a recollection of America’s sins from the past or is this sorrow piercing so many through today evidence that America has not yet repented? America as a government never erred from the faith, because America as a government never employed the teachings of Christ. Christ gave His life for the sake of ALL mankind. The business of this country has always been for the sake of a few.

This a call for the Christians of this nation. Those who profess to live according to the one which put His love of mankind before His own life. You are the light of the world. If your light is hidden from your business, then we lose the light where it is darkest. Business is where decisions are made which impact our whole civilization. The way to remove the chaos from the boardwalks, is to promote a love for mankind in the boardrooms. The corrosion of society stems from morally bankrupt capitalism. All human endeavors must be rooted in the purpose of making life better for all, or humanity will fail as a whole. These words may not find a home in every heart, but my hope is that they will resonate in hearts where the faith of Christ is resident.

 

 

Breath For Those Struggling to Breathe

Fro Love2

What we are seeing in America today may look like the result of centuries of systemic racism, but it is really the results of millenniums of greed. Racism is just a tool the greedy use to maintain control. Greed is defined by Merriam Webster as “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (such as money) than is needed.” The wealth of this world is being greedily held by just a few. This manufactured racism works so well, the aristocracy can just flaunt their extreme wealth in the faces of the oppressed masses without fear. While it is true that the soul of the courts has been bought, it is the lack of empathy in society, for those whom justice is slow to serve, which hinders the needed reforms.

Racism is the bait and easy way taken by those infected with fear, who hold with clinched fist, the dregs left them by the greedy. The problem is not your neighbor, who is just trying to live as you are, it is the system which allows so little to be given for the masses to divide. Racism is the virus which was created by the aristocracy, carried in society by the weak-hearted, and infecting all susceptible to hate.

The inability of one human to see the humanity in another is the pandemic heart disease which threatens all mankind. Inhumanity is the disease which cripples the judgment of the greedy, which hinders the ability of them to see that their excessiveness is depriving other humans. Before you dismiss this as just socialist rhetoric, it is undeniable that there is only so much water, so much land, and so much time to work with in any given generation. When these key resources are manipulated so that they only profit a small segment of the earth’s population, it is unethical and wrong. If there is any concern about a shortage of natural resources, the focus should not be reducing the population of the poor through inhumane eugenics, it should be making sure that the wealth of the world benefits all humanity.

The only way to combat greed, and the racism it perpetuates, is through curing the diseased hearts. This will facilitate the revolution of values needed to rescue society from further moral decay. This is why the gospel of Love must be taught and demonstrated by the true children of GOD. Unlike the Christian hirelings which have been historically complicit with the oppression and injustice rampant in the United States and the rest of the world, it is time for the true followers of Christ to arise and continue the mission of YESHUA which He declared in Luke 4:18-19 (KJV),

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

This mission is for those who have taken up the cross of Christ and only seek the life which is found through the resurrection power of GOD. They who resist fear through faith in GOD and persevere through love, will triumph with Christ!

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV)

Seeking More Than A Spark

Kiss

It’s easy to find someone who wants to make love, but it is rare to find someone willing to allow Love to make them. The Holy Scripture teaches that GOD is Love. I believe that, and I also believe you can’t make love until you have allowed Love to make you. In the beginning, we are told that GOD breathed into an earthly vessel He had formed, which created a living soul. Our soul was born out of Love, so our soul needs love to flourish. Sex will not cause the soul to flourish. The soul needs love; joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, temperance, discipline, patience, gentleness and virtue. GOD said it was not good for man to be alone. Just like it takes the friction of at least two things together to create a spark, love is manifest through the union of separate beings. Two beings coming together can create a spark, but it takes love to fuel a fire. Sex alone can create a spark, but it takes love for it to become the fire which provides the warmth required by the soul.

I love building fires. There is an art to building a good fire. Positioning the wood so that all the pieces ignite, however leaving space for the air to feed the flames. External heat is needed to start the flame, however the fuel for the fire is already within the wood. As the wood gives its fuel, there is a wonderful display of light and sound. Through the fire, the wood transcends into rising smoke and leaves nothing but ashes. I find it almost hypnotic experiencing the warmth, sounds, and visuals of a good fire. The Creator often teaches us through allegory, and there are a lot of lessens embedded in fire. It is GOD in us which fuels the fire. You take away the air and the fire will die. Air or wind, throughout the bible, symbolizes the Spirit of GOD. To have this glorious fire, which transforms the soul, a relationship must be saturated with Love and the Spirit of GOD.

So remember, the spark is nothing, without all the other components needed to produce a lasting fire.

 

Reminded of The State of The Union

flags

Yesterday, I went out cycling for some exercise at a nearby park. Upon finishing and returning to the parking lot, I entered a conversation with a fellow biker unloading his bike. He came over to my car as I racked my bike to continue the conversation.  He was an older white guy in his mid-sixties. The conversation quickly shifted from cycling talk to the impact of COVID-19. I listened to him for about 2 minutes and then I realized, in my free loving just talk with anyone ways, this person was rimming over with information he had been gathering from his news sources and the circles he travels in, and I had provided him an opportunity to pour out his opinions. I understand the propensity of older people to share their views to enlighten those who will follow them, so I let him finish expressing his thoughts. When he was done, he had given me his explanation of why the corona virus had been particularly hard on New York. In a nut shell, he stated it was due to the illegal immigrants living ten deep in apartments infecting one another. He made sure to make a distinction from undocumented immigrants to illegal immigrants. He also stated the illegal immigrants were most likely “dogs” from their homeland. I am not exaggerating this or embellishing his words in any way.

This wasn’t provocative to me because after living in America and seeing how the mythology of American history is taught and perpetuated, I understood perfectly how he could have these viewpoints. It is no different from labeling native Americans as savages to justify the profits from taking their land. It is no different from labeling African abductees as incapable monkeys, only two-thirds human to justify profits made through their enslavement. The labeling of humans that seek asylum in America is another way of justifying the profits made from government contracts in privately run prisons and holding facilities.

So, I calmly shared with this older citizen that these were not undocumented immigrants or illegal immigrants, these people were first and foremost humans, just like he and I. As humans, they deserved to have their humanity protected and preserved with the same rights and dignities as every other human. I told him that at a minimum, that is what the law of the land should provide to all humans. I explained to him that they were not just human, they were also individuals and deserved to be treated on the merits of their individual selves and we should care about their individual stories. Well, the tone of the conversation changed after that, and he went on to tell me he was exercising and on meds because he had an ailment that was causing his arteries to harden. I hoped our conversation had at least softened his heart.

I drove away pondering the level of continued blindness in what is now the twenty-first century. I don’t think he stopped for moment to consider that he was speaking to someone who has ancestors, which only a generation ago, had to sit in the back of buses and in the rear of trains and barely could vote in the south, due to them being unjustly stigmatized. I don’t think he is aware that this blight is still impacting the lives of many people of color through the criminal justice system in higher incarceration rates and longer sentencing, as well as the financial sector through higher interest loans and higher insurance premiums and lower property value assessments.

It will probably take months, if not years, to get the facts on who has been most impacted by COVID-19. A lack of thorough testing and no country wide standards enforced on documenting and reporting related deaths during the first weeks of the outbreak, will impact the accuracy of statistics. This pandemic reveals yet how far we are from the ideals of The Pledge of Allegiance, “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”