It Starts with Me

Our boys need Kingdom lessons too.

In the blogging sphere, many African-American mommies talk about the challenges of raising boys. One of their primary concerns is raising black boys in a society that’s oftentimes hostile towards them. The media feeds this hostility. Black boys are often portrayed and viewed as menaces to society, especially when they’re traveling in large groups. The media portrays large groups of black boys as ones to be feared and avoided. People associate them with gangs even though they may just be hanging out with their friends. I have three brothers and I remember when my stepmother told one of my brothers not to run in the mall because the security personnel would think that he stole something regardless of his reason for running. When my baby brother reached driving age, we warned him about police stops. We told him never to make any sudden movements and to always keep his hands on the wheel. We told him, “Society views you as a threat. You’re black and you’re a man. They don’t view you as a 19-year old college kid. They will shoot first and ask questions later.” When he moved to Florida, I pleaded with him to stay out of strange neighborhoods and stick close to the school. We taught these rules as a means to protect our black boys.

Today, I have my own son and I still feel compelled to teach him how to operate in a hostile society. However, the Holy Spirit showed me that I can quench some of that hostility by extinguishing the hostility on the inside of me. I had become angry. I contributed to the hostile environment. I was angry that I had to worry about my brothers. I was angry because I didn’t feel like society valued their lives. And ironically, the same negative thinking about black boys infected me. I found myself becoming suspicious when I saw a large group of black boys in the neighborhood. Fear and hatred infected me.

The Lord let me know that if I wanted to change things, I had to be the change. I had to allow Him to change my heart and way of thinking. I had to take on a Kingdom mindset. God says to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). God looks at the heart of the man or woman while we judge from the outside (1 Samuel 16:7). Yes, justice should roll down like a mighty river, but the Lord taught me that if I wanted to extinguish the flames of hatred and fear, then I had to extinguish them in my own heart. I had to love (Romans 12:9-21). This is the lesson that I needed to teach my son.

What are your thoughts? What change did God challenge you to be?

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