Counting my blessings helps keep me grateful for what God has done for me and when I am grateful, I’m no longer bitter. I did a post recently about how I’ve been struggling in my faith, particularly with how Black people are mistreated and devalued on a world wide scale, while others are over privileged. It’s very easy to become bitter and angry if I focus on the negative.
I prayed to God last night to help me forgive people who hurt, judged and devalued Black women just because of our skin color and race. I asked God to show me how to forgive and not be bitter. Well this morning, I had a dream. I had a dream about some one who was starving, they looked so hungry and malnourished. It was really heartbreaking.
When I woke up this morning, the first thing I immediately thought was that must have been God’s way of showing me a few things.
The first thing was how to count my blessings. As much as it angers me to see the discrimination and racism, at the end of the day, I’m very blessed myself. I have a home, I don’t have to worry about food and I can be relatively safe. Not every one in the world can live that way. In fact, many people have to worry about food every day. There is a documentary called Living with Hunger, in the documentary, a Black British man lives and eats for a month as an Ethiopian family does. He finds that even when not in famine, many poor families in Ethiopia are not adequately able to feed their families. At night children cry out from the hunger and people are thin and short from insufficient calorie intake. Although, not all families in Ethiopia live this way and you can certainly find people starving all over the world, including in the United States, this documentary shows how hunger affects people. It certainly is humbling to think that something that is considered a basic necessity for many people is a luxury.
The second thing I believe God was trying to show me in my dream was not to overlook the suffering of non-Black people. In my dream the person starving was not Black. Now, its undeniable that racism has situated Black people (on a world-wide scale) at the bottom of the hierarchy. Europe and the west are disproportionately privileged. If you look at the world hunger map, you’ll see that people of color (especially predominately Black countries) have some of the highest percentage of under-nourished people. It is also people of color who are affected most by diseases such as HIV. It is clear that institutionalized racism has given many privileges to some people, while it has denied other basic rights. However, that doesn’t mean that other people don’t suffer. At the end of the day, I don’t want to see a starving white person anymore than I want to see a starving Black or other person of color. If I see a person, who happens to be white, and they are in need, I would never and should never overlook them. However, my focus has been on Blacks and people of color mainly because, I know they face the most disadvantage BECAUSE of this system of institutionalized racism. However, at the end of the day, I think what God was trying to tell me was that we’re all children of God and I should strive to help all people and we all deserve kindness, respect and care.
The third thing: (and I think most important) that I think God was trying to tell me was that, perhaps a better use of my time would be spent helping others. There are people here in the United States (and around the world) who need help all the time. If I’m bitter and angry, I will be just so focused on my bitterness, that I won’t be doing any thing positive for others. Instead of being bitter and angry about the discrimination and racism that Black people (especially women) face, I could be more positive and help more. I could help a Black woman who is struggling to feed her children because society has overlooked her plight. I could also help people of all colors get basic necessities like food, shelter and water. I feel like because Black women are such a marginalized group, I would want to work in a program that is targeted at Black mothers or children. But, as I said earlier, I would also want to help people of all colors and I could do something more universal to help all people as well. I could also strive to educate others the importance of treating all people equally and not over looking racism and how it affects others.
When I count my blessings and think of others, it’s easier to be grateful and not bitter and when I think of being able to help others, it makes a difference. I am going to look for ways to help others, especially Black women, but I will also not overlook the needs of non-Black people either, because at the end of the day we are all God’s children. I focus on Black women because I know they are disproportionately disadvantaged, not because I don’t care about others, but at the same time, I will also try to help people of all colors who are in need. Finally, I should always be grateful that Christ laid down his life and shed his blood because he loved me so much, a filthy sinner. He paid for my sins and the sins of all humanity, how can I be ungrateful and bitter when I truly think of the sacrifice God made for all of us? The greater purpose is that by helping others in need and not living in bitterness and anger, I am passing Christ love onto other people.
Acts 20: 35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.
1 John 3:17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
Romans 10:9 Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.