The Claw

Remember the movie “Liar, Liar” (1997) starring Jim Carey? He plays a dad/lawyer who often breaks promises to his son and clients in the work place. You are probably already envisioning him extending His arm and forming his hand in the shape of a claw in order to tease and entice his son. The claw is mostly to make his son laugh and not cause pain as he so often does through the many lies He tells. (even though this blog has nothing to do with the movie, thought I’d share the clip anyway. Http://youtu.be/Bkyyp6eBqUQ)

There is another claw I want to share about, the claw of “unforgiveness”.

I can’t remember who shared this analogy with me, but it has been one that has stuck with me over the years and through many challenging relationships and situations.

“Unforgiveness in our heart is like a claw with a chain. The claw pierces our heart, wraps itself around it and the chain extends all the way to another person whom we are unwilling to forgive. The piercing sometimes leads to a suffocating and debilitating feeling. As we choose to forgive the other person before the Lord, then He is the one that fills our heart with love and compassion for the other person and expands it. As our heart expands, the claw loses its grip and pops off. As a result, when true forgiveness happens, you become separated from the chain that binds you to that person”.

I often find myself in a place where my heart hurts. I can feel the points of the claw piercing my tender heart. Why should my heart be tender? Because I am a person that believes in Jesus and have received His forgiveness that He poured out for my sin (Matthew 26:28 and Luke 22:20).

Today, I’m there again, facing the ugly sin of racism. You’d think that as a woman well into my forties, this issue wouldn’t bother me as much anymore. Considering I have lived my whole life as a minority. Often being reminded as such, it shouldn’t bother me anymore. Even that opinion is racist, in and of itself.

Take a walk in my shoes for a minute won’t you……

I was born in India, grew up in Canada and now live in the U.S.A with my Dutch-American husband and four bi-racial children.

In my growing up years, I have had eggs thrown at me while the three young boys yelled racial slurs. My ears have been pierced with mocking laughter that has gone deep into my soul. I have been sized up walking into a retail store and asked for two pieces of identification as “store policy”. I have been ignored in restaurants when out on a date with my husband. I mean, come on, if you want to know “what I would like for dinner” than ask me, not my husband. Don’t even ask me to talk about lack of eye contact or the questions about why my last name doesn’t match my first name or skin colour. Best one yet, “is that your real skin colour?” UGH!!!

Before you think I am using this blog to rant, I am not. Racism is real and unfortunately very alive because it is being fueled by the enemy to tear down people groups. It is a sin. If you are a follower of Christ than you also have a role to help dismantle it. Either you will be part of the problem, or become part of the solution.

As an adult, my experiences with racism continued. However, I would need to face them with the maturity that comes with age.

Years ago, while I was babysitting a friend’s five year old, the little girl asked me the question, “why do you have dirty skin?”. Realizing her innocence and imagination as a five year old, I gave her a free pass and told her my skin wasn’t dirty, just darker than hers because God made me this way. “So you are never going to be white?”. “No, I’m not”, I replied. She replies with, “oh, that’s too bad”. I was speechless. I wasn’t going to get into it with a five year old. It left me wondering where and how she landed on that conclusion.

Then there’s the marriage issue. I am in an interracial marriage. For those who have made comments like, “that must be hard”, I say, “yup, two sinful beings and one with a better tan” (what can I say, my husband is competitive). In our early married years, my husband and I served in ministry to teenagers together. He was the Youth Pastor and I was active as a small group leader. As we often did, we would take time to discuss heavy topics so as to help stretch

the minds of these young people. Well, one day I decided to bring up the subject of interracial dating. I wasn’t ready for what came next. One student said, “not cool”, while another one said, “our parents would disown us, for sure, if we brought someone home who wasn’t Dutch or white”. After I found my pulse again and calmed my gut from wanting to throw up, I asked them if they knew Ken and I were in fact in an interracial marriage, just in case that wasn’t clear. To that they said, “we don’t see you as a different colour. We see you as white like us”.

There began my journey of discovering how the sin of racism was taking its toll on me. Internally, I was screaming, yelling, and throwing fits about the presence of racism in the church. I vented in my journal, to my husband, to my close friends (some of whom I lost because they couldn’t handle the painful reality of what I was experiencing). Finally, at the Cross. I brought it all to Jesus. I confessed my anger, my growing resentment, my pain. I cried out in my pain, my hurt, and for the rejection of something that will never change….my skin colour.

So, back to the original title and it’s inspiration. The Claw of unforgiveness.

After confessing all I was feeling – so I wouldn’t be tempted to sin in my anger (Ephesians 4:26), the Holy Spirit drew my attention to the growing unforgiveness in my heart. The claw had pierced my heart. It was painful!!! With His help, I was able to forgive all the above mentioned situations and people involved. I didn’t want the claw to destroy my life or my witness for Jesus.

With God’s help, the unforgiveness was turned into surrender. You see, at the Cross is where it began. The Cross is where “IT is finished” (John 19:30)

Racism won’t go away until Jesus returns. It isn’t finished with it’s destruction . In fact, so far this year alone, two very public situations related to my race have caused the racists in this country to trash talk their way to the masses. One of those situations occured just today. I saw the claw on the horizon, wiggling it’s way towards my heart so as to trap me with the growing anger in my heart. Today, I chose forgiveness, will you?

How about you?

How close is the claw of unforgiveness in your life right now?

As far as racism is concerned, are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

Racism affects everybody.¬† I would love to hear from you about how this blog has impacted your life……..

Joining you in the journey,

Kinita

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One-sided Friendships

Ever have one of those? You know the kind, where either you or the other person is always the one that does the calling, texting, e-mailing, connecting? It can be in a friendship that is new or one that has spanned the years. If you haven’t, trust me, they are not fun. They are draining. They end up making the person who is doing all the “work” feel desperate, feel devalued, and wondering, “am I not enough”, and ultimately feeling rejected. I’ve been on both sides, I know.

We, the people, make so many commitments in our lives and yet don’t keep them. So often our children follow in suit. Take our teenagers, for example. Some of them have so many friends that every other week they have a new “Best Friends Forever” (BFF). No one friend “rises” to the top and stays there. That’s not all bad, in my opinion, since there are different seasons for different kinds of friendships, but I think it eventually shows a lack of intimacy with any one friend.

For me this lesson of one-sided friendships became a reality when I moved from my hometown in Canada to the United State after I got married. I had many friends but the there were two women that I chose to stick with. Mostly because of our history and the commitment they made to “not forget me”. I know, cheesy right? However, I think many of you are starting to relate to my story already.

Well, unfortunately the commitments weren’t as strong as I had hoped. However, because I valued each one differently and loved them both deeply, I made sure I did my part to stay connected, including taking the time to ask and answer the tough questions. Now it is almost 30 years later, and both of those women have continued to be in my corner and have my back. They have walked with me in prayer and often when I have gone back for visits, we have picked up as though I had never moved away. We have agreed that even though each of us is wired differently, our commitment to the friendship is strong.

Last year, two close friends in my current hometown moved away. This time I was the friend who stayed. Those feelings from decades ago resurfaced. However, this time I was able to reflect on the growth that had taken place in my heart since then. The development of technology has definitely helped foster the growing intimacy in our friendships. I value and love these two women deeply. They are prayer warriors who seek and love the Lord with all their hearts. They value many of same things I do, know how to have fun, are truth-tellers and most importantly love me for me. I’m sure our friendship will look different from time to time, but I can confidently say we will have a friendship that will last a lifetime.

Bottom line…..I made a commitment to “not forget them”.

There is another relationship that often feels like a one-sided friendship to some. A relationship with Jesus. Perhaps you call on Him through prayer or dig through the scriptures and all you get is silence. You get others to pray you through stuff and still “feel” nothing. You find yourself in the middle of a storm and you “feel” completely alone. Maybe you resort to technology and social media out of desperation to soothe your loneliness. Perhaps you indulge in alcohol, food, or other forms of temporary comfort. Or maybe you are being pursued by God in so many areas of your life but you are so buried under the rubble of excuses that you don’t respond.

Unlike our women friendships, God is a God who is a keeper of promises ALWAYS!! He keeps His commitments, no matter what. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “He will never leave you or forsake you”. (other versus Joshua 1:5; Psalm 27:10; Psalm 94:14; Hebrews 13:5)

It is ok to have those above feelings, but the truth of the matter is, He is with you. You are not alone. Proverbs 17:17 says, “there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother”.

I¬†believe, the question shouldn’t be, “are you there, God?”, it should be “what is in my life that is blocking me from seeing and hearing you, Lord?”. I know, tough question. But it’s the tough questions that grow our intimacy with Jesus. Just like in our friendships we could ask, “am I too busy for intimacy in my friendships?”.

You are not alone in this challenge either. Just this past week I was once again going through a storm that caught me by surprise. After a few days had passed, I started to “feel” lonely. I felt alone. I felt frustrated because I was confined to my bed for longer than I would have liked. I used social media and technology to soothe my lonliness. I got a little upset when my husband didn’t pull away from his activities to give me attention. The pain medication was messing with my senses and I felt out of control much of the time.

Then a dear friend called and told me she was committing a whole day to pray for me. I was humbled and thankful. She reminded me that perhaps God had a specific reason for this storm in my life. I won’t lie, I was feeling inconvenienced. I was feeling like a burden to my family. I felt like nobody “really” understood.

Until she called and reminded me that God understood because of the suffering He went through on the Cross on our behalf.

Maybe you are the friend that has become distant. Maybe you need a little reminder disguised as encouragement that “there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother / sister” (Prov.17:17). Maybe a name or two have come to mind and you need to contact them and share the love.

My prayer for you is that God would show up in a mighty way and comfort your heart as the True Friend He really is. If you don’t know Him in that way, seek out a trusted friend who knows that kind of intimacy. Perhaps check out a local church while you are at it.

It’s time to stop being casual in the friendships and relationships that really matter.

God will see you through it!!

How about you?

What are some tough questions you need to address in your life to improve intimacy in your relationships, with others and / or with God?

How has reading this blog post been an encouragement to you? If you don’t want to respond to this blog because of it’s public nature, feel free to contact me on Facebook. You can private message (PM) me at Kinita Kadnar Schripsema.

Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Blessings, Kinita