Love, Peace, Justice...And Freedom?

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." - The United States Declaration of Independence.

In 1776, about a year since the thirteen American Colonies had been at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Declaration of Independence was adopted, and thus these colonies—of course with the leadership of the founding fathers—declared that they had now become sovereign and independent. They became a new nation—the United States of America. These founding fathers would never have imagined that more than two hundred years later, the very foundation on which Independence was derived—freedom—would be so...shaken? challenged? ridiculed?

This past week has been very devastating and especially heartbreaking, but has also led me to thinking more about what freedom really means to me. I have found that true freedom is found in God. True freedom comes with salvation. And freedom is being able to live uninhibited under the grace of God. The same grace that has kept me (and I am sure many others) sane. These recent happenings have challenged me to think further on how people have become much less tolerant of others. And the more you think about intolerance, injustice, prejudices, racism, the angrier you become.

But you see, there is already enough anger to go around. Everyone literally has something to say, but no one is listening. I wish we would reason beyond our ideologies to tackle the problem of hate. I wish we would be more involved in seeking answers to the many questions recent happenings have posed. Like, why would you think that a person is inferior to you because of the pigment of their skin? Why would you think that a person's life is worth less because they are different from you? And why would you judge me based on what I look like? It defies common sense, doesn't it? Considering I had no say whatsoever in how I was created, why then should my actions be solely defined and sometimes confined to the amount of melanin in my body? Why should a particular subset of people be expected to be more subservient to police than others? Also, why would anyone resort to more violence as the solution to violence? It's all very murky. Indeed, the time to discuss it is now.

Our leaders can and should better enforce and make laws that defend the unalienable rights of everyone as human beings. Alas, while the government can and should protect its citizens from hate crimes, racism, and discrimination, the government can not make citizens love and respect others irrespective of what they look like. Only Jesus can do that. He did that when he commanded us to love our neighbors—NO MATTER WHO YOUR NEIGHBOR IS—as we love ourselves. He did that when he constantly preached love. But most importantly, he did that by demonstrating a perfect love when he gave up his life.

Having said that, it begins with you and me. No person is born with hatred in them. Rather, as we grow older, we pick up prejudices and form our impressions based on our environment and the adults around us. Maybe you have conditioned your mind to form untrue opinion about black folks. I don't know. What I know though is that your child sees and picks up everything. Check yourself, examine yourself, above all ask God for some sort of exploratory surgery. Do you believe you are better than another person because your skin colors differ? You are not. And let's forget credentials and pedigree. I argue that being "uneducated", being a miscreant even, does not mean anyone deserves to be killed.

Now this is a process...maybe a long one. Maybe not. Maybe we wake up tomorrow, and we ALL love each other, we hold hands to sing Kumbaya, and racism is gone. Maybe not. Maybe it's folly to think racism and prejudices will ever end. Maybe its folly to believe so much in the human race; to believe that out of many languages, culture, race, ancestries, we are ONE. Maybe this is indeed a long arduous journey to freedom, real freedom. Whatever the case may be, you need to find your peace in this process.  Make no mistake, you should voice these frustrations and be a part of the solution. You should not be so complacent or indifferent to injustice, that you completely ignore everything going on and become insensitive.

A side note to my Nigerian and non-American friends: that you are not in America is not an excuse to turn a blind eye to racially motivated murders. You may have never been on a plane, you may never have physically been to America, but you can voice your frustrations too. Don't let anyone take that from you. Don't let anyone mock you for being aware even though "you have never seen the inside of a plane". Let them bask in their small-mindedness.  The world is now more connected than ever; be a part of the solution. However, please take care to properly educate yourself on history and facts before blabbing anything ignorant. Okay?

Moving on.

We all need to understand that while it is okay to voice our frustrations about injustice and murder and cop killings, our sanctity also needs to be protected. After all, nothing good can come from you losing your mind, can it? Therefore, do what you need to do and what you can to protect this peace. Disconnect, if necessary. Take a media fast too if necessary. The media has a LOT to gain from uproar and unrest. You don't. Whatever you need to protect and preserve your peace, go for it. Do not for one second forget about the Prince of Peace, Jesus: he is able to give you a kind of peace that surpasses human understanding, and he usually does.

Love, peace, and some justice,


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