Wednesday, April 2, 2008
"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." We've all quoted this line at least once or twice in our childhood. A phrase that has been a rebuttal to someone who has said something cruel to us. Oh how I wish this were true, that words never hurt. But the power of words can cut us deeper than any physical wound could. The actions of others in our lives, whether they are strangers, friends, or family can leave us bitter, angry and wanting revenge.
The ugliness of what words can do hit me at my own home yesterday. While standing on my front porch talking to my sister on the phone a car drove by. Some girl in the backseat, whose identity was shielded by tinted windows, stuck her hand out the window, waved and said "Hi nigger." Needless to say I hollered back some not so nice language. Here I was in my own yard and minding my own business. It hurt me to my very soul. Richard wrapped his arms around me and tried to comfort me as best he could. I had the urge to beat that girl silly. But all I could do was bury my head on my oldest daughters shoulder and cry. I've been fighting against harboring any bitterness for this young girl, trying my best to muster a pray for her. Now I'm finding myself running the event over in my head like some bad episode. Honestly I'm struggling with having any compassion, forgiveness, or any feeling for this girl, other than giving her the whooping she deserves.
All these emotions flooded me and my mind was consumed with getting "even." However, I know that's not how you handle the situation. Some people might say "Oh anybody can be a n----r. Well, no they can't. This was a word specifically given to African-Americans, to demean, humiliate, and bully. This is not just a word, this was a stone aimed and fired at me. "Lord" I say "please don't let me be bitter, and angry. Help me to forgive because I don't want to."
She needs Jesus, just like anyone else. I'm trying to remember that, though wounded from her stone. And this is another lesson that I will learn about the grace of God, healing, praying and loving those who hate me just because my skin color is different.