Muse: The Jena 6

For months, I’ve watched the news, listened to the radio, and read blogs about the Jena 6.

I am utterly disappointed in the way the media, the church, and our “black leaders” have handled this incident.

Dr. Phil, although I did not care for the way he handled the parent’s of the black students, asked a very valid question: “If the boys committed a crime, should they be punished?”
Since Reverend Sharpton didn’t answer it, I will. Yes, the boys should be punished if they committed a crime. However, the punishment should fit the crime and should be carried out in a “colorless” fashion – meaning give the boys the same sort of punishment that any white child in the neighborhood would have gotten. I am certain that a group of white schoolboys have attached just one black boy in Jena. Were they charged with attempted murder? Probably not.

While I empathize with Justin Barker and his parents, I believe that they should take responsibility in their contribution to the situation. Mom and Pop Barker, wake up – YOUR SON IS PROBABLY LYING! Peer pressure or something one of you said at home made him act out. No child in the South, black or white, can use the excuse that they didn’t know about racism. He knows, you know, and God knows.

Parents of the Jena 6 –

Michael Bell’s parents: You should have left him in jail after the bail was paid. Since he has a history of committing violent crimes, it is time that you take some responsibility for his behavior. His juvenile record should not have been made public record. However, you have to do something about him and his behavior before he causes you and the black race (you know that when one black person does something we all are responsible) further embarrassment. While I do not believe he should have the book thrown at him I do believe that he has a problem. Help him: PLEASE!

Jesse Ray Beard’s parents: He is just a baby. Take that child home and teach him that he is better than what he has been called and how he acted. Show him that the best way to get back at the people who want to oppress him is rise above them. Educate him so that he can use this situation as his defining moment. Teach him about the movement and how black men need leaders, not more followers. We need men who think with their mind and use their strength to uplift, encourage, and progress.

All the parents involved: Find a way to put this behind you while making it a part of your journey. These young men have been given a platform for good. Don’t use the media just for your benefit – use it to fight social injustice. Deep down inside, all of you know that all seven of the children acted inappropriately in some way. Barker’s, stop hiding behind Justin’s injuries; parents of the Jena 6, stop hiding behind the unfair legal system. Help you children to help the world.

Demeaning others with words, fists, or boots incites division. Uplift one another and offer the Word of God to your children:

“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. [Matthew 7:120]”

The Jena 6 have been bruised and hurt by this just as Justin. The sad thing about it is that Justin’s physical hurt will soon fade away but the pain of being called the “N” word never dies. Every time the Jena 6 look in the mirror, go through routine traffic stops, or see a police officer the fact that they are black men will put fear in their hearts – especially when much of the majority treats them, their families, and friends like they truly are the epitome of the “N” word.

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Are Your Friends, Friends of Your Marriage?

Situation 

Karen doesn’t care for her husband’s relationship with Dahlia.  Dahlia has been disrespectful to Karen by calling her names and by pursing a “friendship” with Jarious, her husband; even though Karen has expressed to the both of them that she is uncomfortable with the relationship.  To make matters worse, Dahlia has a history of being in unhealthy companionship with men, married and unmarried, and has participated in over the line flirtation with Jarious.  Jarious has admitted to crossing the line and has asked his wife to forgive him but refuses to end the relationship because they work together and because Dahlia is a Christian woman.  Jarious also feels like his wife should trust him more.

Karen feels like Jarious has chosen Dahlia over her and that Dahlia has won.  Karen has been tempted to re-enter relationships with friends that she has let go for the sake of her marriage just to get back at Jarious for choosing another woman over her.  She is tired of being disrespected by her husband and his “friend”.  However, Karen’s friend Tina told her that she should not do anything wrong just because her feelings are hurt. 

Scripture:  Proverbs 27:6 KJVFaithful [are] the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy [are] deceitful.

Solution All too often I hear married women and men complaining about their spouses’ relationships with others.  Whether it’s a parent, a friend, a sibling, or co-worker all external relationships should strengthen your marital bond.

In the Life Application Study Bible‘s concordance, a friend is defined as an intimate companion or associate; one attached to one another by affection or esteem.  When determining the validity of friendships that strain your relationship with your spouse, you need to figure out why you are maintaining the relationship by asking yourself the following questions:

Do I have an intimate relationship with this person?  If so, would I feel comfortable with my spouse maintaining the same kind of relationship with another person? 

Intimacy goes beyond the bedroom and sex.  Intimate conversations can include the discussion of finances, marital problems, and even work issues.  When an intimate relationship happens between members of the opposite sex, the natural attributions of the male and female psyche begins to operate.  Men have the inclination to rescue; women, to nurture making it easier to cross the line.  Would you want your wife to be rescued by another man? Would you want your husband to be nurtured by another woman?

Am I attached to this person by affection or esteem?  Why am I attached in this way?

For the sake of argument, let’s look at several of Miriam-Webster‘s definitions of affection and esteem.

affection:  a moderate feeling or emotion / tender attachment / the feeling aspect (as in pleasure) of consciousness

esteem:  the regard in which one is held; especially : high regard

The biggest part of this step is why you are attached to the friend in question.  If your spouse’s discomfort with the relationship is valid, holding on to that friend is selfish and may cause detriment to your marriage.  Marriage is about love. Love is not selfish (1 Corinthians 13:5).

What are the motives of the friend in question?

This part of the self-evaluation ties into the chosen scripture reference.  Your friends are honest with you about your wrongdoings and will encourage you to do what is best for you and your family.  An enemy – someone who does not love you – will tell you what you want to hear and send you off to fail.

A person cannot be fond of you if they are not fond of your spouse; you are one.  Your spouse is a direct reflection of you.  If you have a friend that does not respect or like your spouse, that friend is truly a foe.

Am I being obedient to God in maintaining this relationship?

Ephesians 5:21 – 23 is clear on how the marriage relationship should be handled.  Verse 21 states, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” 

If an external relationship causes your spouse pain, you should walk away from it.  If the relationship is a work relationship, it should be modified meaning that only situations and conversations related directly to the business at hand should be entered.  Anything outside of this may put your relationship with your spouse under duress.

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A Diva’s Armor

Inspired by Ephesians 6:10-18

Courtesy imageafter.com

Be fierce in appearance and in the integrity of relationships.  Cloth yourself in elegance, femininity, and grace so that you will be revered and envied by the haters.  Your outward show should reflect the goodness within; setting the standard amongst other black women, promoting self awareness, self confidence, self worth, and the priceless value of true womanhood.  Defy ghetto ness and self hate; reject anything that deflects from being fearfully and wonderfully made. 

Therefore be complete, that you may be able to endure life’s tragedies and pain.  Be encouraged in relational difficulties, not allowing anyone to steal your strength, compassion, or joy; forgive others just as you have been forgiven so that you do not carry the burden of another’s transgressions; serve and give with your heart’s sincerity so that in your time of need you will receive what you have sown one hundred fold; and be protected by the Truth, for there is only one. 

Take time to love yourself and all those around you; make time to be loved.  Take time to pray, meditating upon good things, not bad.  And lastly, strive for perfection knowing that being perfect is not being right; it is being like Him, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, which will get you justly through anything or situation not covered in this writing.