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.”

Secure Your Life By Securing Your Heart

 

Heart-shaped_lockThe kind of life you live is determined by what you value. Your values are determined by what you treasure. The scripture says in Matt 6:21,

“Where a man’s treasure is there his heart will be also.”

A man will set his aspirations, his affections, and his focus around that which he treasures. Your heart becomes filled with what you focus on and that consequently affects everything that comes out of it. Proverbs 4:23 says keep your heart with all diligence, because out it flows the issues of life. What this looks like lived out is making every effort to ensure that the things you set your heart on add “real” value to your life.

Would you agree that having peace of mind and good health adds extra value to anything you can experience in life? I think so. Peace of mind comes from living harmoniously with the one that governs all things. This means seeking the knowledge of GOD to understand your purpose, the provisions He has made for you to live, and what He expects of you, as well as what you can expect from Him. Here is what Proverbs 8:11 says about the wisdom of GOD:

“For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”

This knowledge should be your treasure and primary focus. The book of Matthew chapter 6 speaks to this when it concludes that we should seek the kingdom of GOD and His righteousness first and foremost and everything else we need will flow into our lives.

If we will make our treasure the knowledge and wisdom of GOD, then our hearts will be focused on that which is truly valuable. This heavenly focus will enable our hearts to produce many blessings in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

For all of this to make since, we first have to realize that we are living souls placed in vessels of flesh. Just as these physical vessels have needs, so does our eternal souls. Most people live focused on the needs of the flesh while their eternal soul languishes. Since the true longing of the soul isn’t satisfied through carnal pleasures, the tendency is to seek carnal pleasures even more intensely. This disconnect from understanding the source of the true longing causes many to treasure the physical things of the world more than the spiritual things. The strongest and deepest longings come from the thirst of the soul. The soul has an innate thirst for righteousness, peace, and joy. This thirst can only be filled by the love of GOD.

So keeping our hearts with all diligence means making sure our focus and values stay aligned with the kingdom of GOD instead of being subverted to the things of this world. The treasures of this world tend to be temporal, unstable, corruptible, and destructible. If your heart is set on worldly things, consequently you will have little peace in your life and unstable rest. There will always be the nagging feeling of there has to be more.

Yeshua speaks to the dissatisfied and weary soul in Matthew 11:27-29:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Don’t become enslaved to this by the deceitfulness of riches. Follow the guidance of Yeshua in John 10:10 and live well.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”