What Does Real Freedom Look Like?

Fake Freedom

In the Black Community, there is sometimes teasing about one’s worthiness to carry the Black Card. The meaning has strayed from its true roots in the struggle for Civil Rights.  One of the chants often heard by protesters during Civil Rights rallies was “A PEOPLE…UNITED…WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!!” To be a proud Black Card carrying American meant that you were identified with the struggle, and no matter what it cost you individually, you were going to stand in solidarity with the persecuted Black race, until they all overcame. The Black folk that broke ranks to avoid persecution or took a bribe to be silenced were considered sell outs, so their Black Cards were revoked. By bribe, I’m not talking about a few hundred dollars, people often had to choose between a job to feed their families and risking their lives or taking a stand against injustices in the community. Nowadays, references of a Black Card are thrown around by the children and grandchildren of those early activist in relation to mere cultural taboos like; if you didn’t watch the NAACP awards, if you are unfamiliar with some trending Black icon, or if you don’t fit into any of the branded stereotypes like having great rhythm, being athletic, or understanding the latest slang terms. Truth is, if the Black Card was still enforced by the old standard, millions would be considered “sell outs” today because the efforts used to break up the solidarity in the Black Community has been enormously successful.

I have done volunteer work at a transition home for men recovering from chronic homelessness and addiction for over a decade. I have also served as Chairman of the organization, and over the time I have worked there, the predominant supporters have been White churches and the White community. Why is that significant…Because over that same period and from its beginning, Black men have made up 99% of the clients receiving service. Where is the support from the Black community? I told a group of black men about the organization once after a round of golf and invited them to come down to the organization to offer some support and encouragement. Their response, to summarize, “they got themselves into that mess and they need to get themselves out.” Also, “if we made it through with hard work, so can they.” The lack of empathy and understanding shown by these men was somewhat disappointing. I say only somewhat because I understand the origin of the disconnect. These men have souls wounded by the shame and disgrace of four centuries of enslavement, followed by decades of systematic oppression. Their wounded souls have not received the proper care or attention because of a lack of self-awareness in the light of truth. The cigars, expensive liquor, and constant posturing is nothing more than the jangling chains of the enslaved proclaiming, “See, I’m a man too!”. Proverbs 3:31 says, “Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.” I say they are still enslaved because they have a mindset shaped by their oppressor. You are owned by whomever manufactures your treasure. The reason those golfers can’t see the value in those homeless men is because they lack the treasures from which the golfers themselves draw their own value.

One of the signs that you are truly free is that you have learned to see your innate value as a being created in the image of GOD without any relation to the trappings of this present world system. This will also enable you to see the value in others regardless of their social status or current circumstances. You will even find that you have a burden for those who are suffering as a result of not knowing their true value. Christ stated that His main interest was to liberate the captives, and to give sight to the blind, and to mend the broken hearted. These are the world’s castaways. One of my oldest friends is a master mechanic. He owns and operates his own repair shop. Once he saw an old rusted out car in a ladie’s yard and offered to buy it. She sold it to him for a meager price. After he finished restoring this car that the previous owner had pretty much discarded, and which hundreds of people had driven by every day without interest, it was published in a calendar for winning first place in a car show. When he showed the restored car to the former owner, she was so astonished that she actually cried. This is the same response I have seen repeatedly from family members of the graduates that complete the program from the outreach ministry I mentioned earlier. We have to develop the vision to see the potential in every human, based on the power of GOD. When your heart is closed off from the true light of GOD, it is easier to see the value in an old car that’s been neglected, than a human that’s been broken by this world.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream was inspired by the word of GOD. We will all be free at last when we learn to see and value one another as one human family. When we learn to stand against oppression and injustice with everyone carrying a human card, then things will really change. The race card will then be much less significant. This will only happen when our minds are renewed by the word of GOD. This is what the scripture means when it says in John 8:36, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Advertisements