The Cost of Appearances

The eight year old girl had just visited her father in his downtown office.  The elevator stopped a floor below her father’s and a gentleman got on.  The young girl got scared.  By the time they reached the lobby she was in full tears and screamed as she ran out.  Those who were in the building lobby that day looked and saw the man standing in the elevator.  They imagined the worse, but the real horror was about to come.

Most likely the black gentleman didn’t do anything to the little girl, but those in lobby held an impromptu court hearing found the man guilty, and sentenced him to an immediate death.  But they didn’t stop there.  Word, their version, of what had taken place quickly spread, and the next thing everyone knew, Black people were being killed.

Today, as I write this post, it is the 100 year anniversary of the worst race riot in America.  Some call it, “The Tulsa Race Massacre”.  Even our own air force was brought in to bomb Black Wall Street and the surrounding area where most Black people lived in Tulsa.  I remember seeing, in one of my early history books, a photo of two flat train cars with bodies stacked high across it.  They took them out of town and buried them somewhere, most likely, in a mass grave.

I was born and raised in Tulsa.  I am proud to call it, my hometown, yet that day in my eighth grade history class, I bowed my head in shame.  Later, when I was in college, my history professor told us the event had been removed from the books, but he told us the above story anyway.

It does no one any good to try to hide the past.  If you do, you and or others can’t learn from it.  The saddest part of this story is how it begin.  That men looked at the skin of another and assumed the worse.  Most will say they aren’t a racist, but aren’t there times when you see someone, who perhaps looks different from you and you adjust your speech, your actions, or at the very least, your thoughts?  Racism, despite the individual generating it, is an ugly thing.  I think it makes God so sick to his stomach.

We were all made by God, and are descendants of Adam and Eve, so honestly, how can anyone be a racist toward their own family member?  And if we all had the love of God within us, there would be no room for racism.  To those who died 100 years ago today, I am so sorry.  It was wrong, and I will never forget.

“Above all continue to love one another fervently, for love throws a veil over a multitude of faults.” 1 Pt. 4:8 (WNT)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Simply Love

Racism.  Injustice.  Hate.  Protest.  Peace rallies turned into riots.  You know what I am talking about, or referring to.  It’s sad to see so many unhappy, hurting, people.  They can’t take it anymore, and their hearts are crying out for something to believe in that won’t cause anymore pain.  Ever since Adam and Eve, mankind has been saying, “I know what is good and what is evil.”  You see, before they ate the fruit God told them what was good, and He told them what was evil, but they were deceived.

Today, mankind is still being deceived, thinking “they” know what is right, and that “they” know what is evil.  Like Adam and Eve, they won’t be told by anyone else, especially by God.  Can we all agree on the fact each man defining good and evil, on his own terms, isn’t working?

So what’s the solution?

Love.  It’s the only answer.  You see, love, love for others helps you listen to someone else.  It empowers you to understand their views, their values.  Not adopt them, but listen to them.  People just want to be heard.  When I was doing church security, we sometimes had someone come in and interrupt the service.  After I escorted them out, I would always give them a chance to say what they wanted us to hear.  I didn’t care, or really listened, but it was amazing how it calmed them down.

Love says, I accept you no matter where you are from, what color your skin is, or what you believe.  Love helps you not get angry if their views are a lot different than yours.  Love strengthens you to not remember what one might say that hurts you.  Love empowers you to be kind, patient, and not to become easily angered.  Love allows you to want the best for someone else.

The truth is this; love works and will work, because it never fails.  That’s why God puts a big emphasis on accepting love and in fact, God is love.

Can we all try love?  Please?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

But They Go to Church

Charlie 33There it is.  Another ugly, races, hateful, hurtful word from one I know very well.  “I don’t understand,” has been cried out to God many times after one of their zingers comes out of their mouth.  “God, why do they still feel, act, and say these things?  After all, they go to church!”

Just the other day, when this happened again, I questioned heaven for understanding, I sensed the Lord spoke and said, “But church doesn’t go to them.”  It was in that moment I realized that even though they go to church every time the doors are open, the doors to their heart are closed!  They might even be locked, boarded up with a sign posted, “No Trespassing”.

Jane Rubietta writes, in her book, Come Closer,

“After all, what difference does the gospel make if it doesn’t make a difference, right?”

The word of God should change us, and make us more like Jesus.  It should soften our heart toward others.  Does that mean be tolerant of their sins?  Not at all, but give us understanding as to why they act out like they do.

So what do we do when someone we kind of have to be around says or does something that hurts?  We pray for them as we stand up for Truth, and then we surround them with love.  God’s love, perfect love, is the only key to opening the doors to their wounded hearts.  They must see love, hear love, and feel loved even after they hurt us or others.

If the message they hear at church isn’t getting through, then the love they witness from us just might.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

My Last Stop

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Living in the Philippines, for the last six months, has taught me a lot!  More than I could have ever imagined.  I have observed, and recorded in my mind the people, their lives, their world.  I foresee, one of these days, the residents here showing up in a story somewhere.

I have tried my best to settle in, and get comfortable, which is difficult when you are a pampered American.  I have done what I could to fit in, but looking so different than them, some wouldn’t let me.  Like today, at the time of this writing, I was cursed and the old woman made a spitting motion at my feet three times.  I’m not saying I know racism in its fullest now, like some do in America, but I have experienced a taste of it, and it doesn’t taste too good.  On the flip side, I have made friends, who call out my name whenever they see me out on the streets.  That’s a good feeling no matter where you live!

As I made this place home, there were days I was jolted when the realization hit me, Mark, this is not your home.  You’re an alien, a sojourner.  Just passing through, for a specific time and purpose.  For that matter, America is not my home either.  I’m an alien there as well, just passing through for a specific time and purpose.

So where is my residence?

“So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” Ephesians 2:19 (ASV)

After I accepted Jesus, my forwarding address was in heaven, God’s kingdom.  As a residence of that land, I have full rights to everything the kingdom of God offers.  I’m an heir to the King of Kings.  I fit in.  Everyone is accepted, no matter how weird they are on earth.  Racism doesn’t exist!  With nothing but love there, I am making heaven, my last stop.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.