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,