Character – Our Nation Needs it More Than Ever

Let me start out by saying that ‘character’ is the foundation for which if absent, the world falls into utter chaos! Wow, how’s that for an opener! At the surface you may think this is overly dramatizing the importance of ‘character’, but I assure you I am not.

To better convey this point, let me first make a few important points. Lately, we have seen a barrage of images  in the news about the shooting of Michael Brown, of Ferguson MO.

Unless you live in a complete vacuum, you are familiar with this tragedy. Also, we now know the police office, Darryl Wilson (and his wife) are leaving the police department and most likely the general area for their safety.

We also have seen weeks of rioting occurring all over the United States as a result of the reaction of the grand jury to move to not indict offer Wilson. And so the result of all this has led to an increase in tension and chaos!

At the center of this issue is character!

Why?

Because it was character or the lack of good character that allowed a young man to think he could strong-arm rob a store for cigars, and later disregard the attempt of a police officer to stop and question him for a robbery (that he had just committed). It was also an issue of character that allowed this same young man to resist arrest and make a grab for his gun…

If all these events are true (and the robbery has been confirmed on video); then Michael Brown’s actions stemmed from a lack of good character! Lets not make excuses, it was bad character…

And what about the officer’s judgement and character?

Why did he try to stop and physically detain a young man who the officer described was clearly stronger, defiant and apparently not inclined to be physically detained? If he  had backed off and waited for back up to arrive, Michael Brown might have been arrested without injury.

Did the officer use good judgement? Or should he have waited for his back up to arrive before trying to arrest Brown? Was the officer’s attempt to grab Brown from his car door an example of trying to be ‘Macho Man’.

What was present in the officer’s judgement and character that allowed him to think that he should attempt to wrestle with someone who was un-cooperative, obviously stronger and indifferent to his initial attempt to be questioned?

Was the officer emboldened because he had a badge and a gun?

Was it a matter of duty or ego?

Who really knows?

To be honest, I am not sure what I would have done if I were in officer Wilson’s situation…

Now lets switch gears for a minute.

What about the rioters who decided that they were going to riot as a means to express their anger?

What made them think it was okay to rob and burn down local businesses?

How does hurting one’s own local business community help the matter?

Does the ‘ends justify the means’? Meaning: Is it okay to engage in utter chaos – burn and loot – just to make a point?

So now everyone that disagrees with a judicial outcome can just destroy their community?

Or were other more serious character issues present…that allowed so many to engage in criminal activities?

And what about the news reporter who published officer Wilson’s home address?

She thought she was on the right side of the issue…because from her perspective the officer showed no regard for Brown’s safety…

Do you see how this cycle of un-ending, self feeding  rationalizations  can be used to justify wrongful conduct?

It’s essentially the same state of mind that drives much of the violence in the world. And it is this mindset (to rationalize one’s wrongful behavior) that is such a pervasive character issue today. By now you see the point I made at the beginning of this post was not and is not ‘over dramatizing’ the importance of ‘character’ because the absence of good character is central to all these events.

Any time people act in ways that intentionally cause harm, hurt, and create mayhem; these are all problems that have character deficiency as a root cause. And if we don’t get a handle on ‘replenishing’ our nation’s character deficiency we are sure to see more civil unrest, fear, litigious action and soon more racially charged accusations.

Our nation watches the events of Ferguson, and yes – people do have a right to express their dissatisfaction with our judicial system but they have an obligation to do so within the confines of the law. Otherwise we have no order, we have a disorganized society of mayhem and chaos.

And keep in mind our kids are watching Ferguson and they are receiving messages from the events they see on TV and on the Internet. We have a responsibility to lead them in the paths they should go. Good character is vital to a nation, to a city and to individuals. In my next post I will speak to the issue of character as it relates to kids and what they learn from each other!

If you wish to learn more about us please stop by our site: http://www.wagpub.com

Be blessed and have a great day!

WAG Publishing

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The Way to Cope Is by Grace.

How do we cope with those who would rob us of our joy?..

Here’s a situation that may help:

The other day I was upset..And the thing that upset me had to do with family relationships and a person who’s ‘humanity’ doesn’t allow them to understand what is the right thing to do in what is a very difficult situation..

Being a Christian doesn’t guarantee a person will do the right thing. We know that from Peter’s account (“Lord I will never deny you”)…Okay so much for good intentions! So we know  that Christians are still subject to temptation as we are all. When we know the right thing to do and we willing do the wrong thing…well to him who knows better…its sin!

I was upset because this ‘person’ selfishly decided to allow their ‘issues’ to supersede the needs above the well being of other family members…So you see those that are closest to you can do the most  harm…

And yet through it all God is in control! He holds the hearts of men and women and the Holy Spirit’s job is to convict,  not ours! So we pray for that ‘person’ to have their eyes opened. We pray for righteous conviction and for a changed heart. We  pray the Lord will be the one who reveals their wrong doing…

And we extend grace, mercy and over look their trespasses. Because just like Jesus said to those who crucified Him: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”…

We must  have that same heart towards even those who are close to us and who offend us. And  this is the extension of Grace. It is what they do not deserve (none of us do). And God gives us the ability to do this if we are willing to ‘do the right thing’…

If you wish to learn more about us please stop by our site: http://www.wagpub.com

Be blessed and have a great day!

WAG Publishing

The Issue of Identity

We all want to be accepted, loved and assured that we belong and have value in someone else’s eyes (if not our own). My parents were of different ethnic, cultural and racial backgrounds. They met in what I can only describe as the most unusual of circumstances and married at a time when marrying outside of one’s race was still considered taboo. I am a product of the 60’s and 70’s in terms of social influence and survived through living in inner city, sub-standard housing including some pretty ghetto (oxymoron I know) housing projects.

I grew up in some of the rough areas of Los Angeles in what was once known as South Central L.A. and my parents frequently moved from and to various neighborhoods in an effort to find a safer home for us. Through this transitory experience of constant moving, we were frequently faced with curious, often well meaning but sometimes cruel inquiries as to what we were. ‘What are you’? was a frequent question we encountered? Our father was African American and our mother Japanese. So we looked as if we could be Pacific Asian Islanders (Samoans, Hawaiians, etc), Hispanic, and often we were ostracized with slurs and other derogatory labels.

As a child, this had a negative impact on my self perception and although I viewed my self as an African American, I was always acutely aware that I was biracial. Being biracial means you are neither one nor the other but equally both. So after much soul searching (when I was in my late teens) I allowed my childhood experiences in the African American community to shape my views and perspectives on society, American culture and politics. This was a form of self indoctrination that heavily influenced my relational interaction with others. And while I thought I had this together then, I was in fact still growing in maturity and understanding. It was when I entered my early twenties I was again challenged to re-explore or re-assess what I felt was my sense of identity.

I worked at a factory in the late 70s and met a guy who was a Christian. This guy was about 4 or 5 years older than me and he was actually very cool. We worked in a two man set up making resistors (it was an electronics manufacturing company). It was boring and monotonous work, I mean really…making resistors all day, 5 days a week. The highlight of the day was when you had filled the bag and could stop long enough to take a batch to another department for testing.

So this guy, I will call him ‘Joe’ would work really hard! I mean he put allot of effort into what I thought was a job that, well I couldn’t understand why? Like I said, it was really boring so most people would feel compelled to cruise and just get by. Not Joe, he worked hard and on his breaks he read the bible! Now I was no stranger to the bible, I just didn’t know why he chose to read it on his break. This combination of bible reading and hard work caught my attention.

One day, I asked him ‘Joe why do you read the bible’ so much? He said ‘I believe in God’ (or something like that…keep in mind its been a long time since this conversation so much of this is anecdotal recollection on my part). I then asked him ‘Why do you believe in God’? He smiled and said ‘Well, when I think about who I know myself to be…how complicated I am as a person…my thoughts and emotions…I just cannot believe that I evolved from a lower life form (like a monkey)…

Now this blew me away because up to this point, I had looked to society to provide me the criteria for what I would use to define who I was and I viewed my identity through the filters of race and cultural heritage. This seemed quite natural as I was a product of the 60’s in an inner city environment. During the 60s there was a desperate need in my community (and within myself) to find something positive to identify with. We were fighting allot of negative self imagery, but I never thought about this on a spiritual level because my mind was still very carnal and everything was judged based on appearances sake.

In the 60s and 70s, we were expressing ourselves through our appearance and it was cool to look as if you were a revolutionary! There was only one problem; I was only looking at the external and attempting to use that as a means to define myself. I realize in retrospect that was naive and not unlike so many teens experience today. You have but to look around today and see teens with the ‘gothic’ look… they are saying ‘we are different’ and this image is what we want to represent who we are. They hope their appearance will define them to society… but this too is vanity and superficial because it cannot address the deeper aspects of one’s identity and being.

So after thinking about Joe’s comments, I must admit it forced me to rethink everything I thought about who I was and whether a God was the reason for my existence. And if this was true, how would I process this in terms of my identity? So yes, Joe lead me to question myself and my lack of relationship with this God that he knew so well…and he lead me in the sinner’s pray to accept Jesus Christ (right there on one of our breaks)!

So, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and Jesus changed everything. He changed my views on my identity and I learned that God is not a respecter of persons. I realized that I had become a ‘new creature’ in Christ and that in fact, I had become born again. I realized that the exterior or the outside appearance of a person is nothing more than a shell or a tent and that we are in fact truly spirits. We are spirits (our essence), we have a soul (our mind and emotions) and we have a body (our physical body). We are in fact a tri-part being (three parts make the totality of what we are).

When I learned that we were made in God’s image and that we have his DNA, I began to think about the superficial trappings that society uses to define identity (race, ethnicity, outside appearances, cultural differences, etc) and it dawned on me that Satan uses this to divide mankind. Satan uses tools of race, racial bigotry, racial hatred and racial shame as tools to divide man and to keep him confused as to his true identity. You are not what your parents ethnic and or racial make up would suggest.

You are in fact a spirit and in this sense, we are truly all the same. The only question is do you know that? Or are you still thinking the external superficial appearances define who you are? If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are a child of God and you are not defined by externalities, but rather through your relationship with Him. You are royalty, you are an heir of the most High God, you are destined for greatness because you are a child of God!

If you wish to learn more about us please stop by our site: http://www.wagpub.com

Be blessed and have a great day!

WAG Publishing