Wednesday, May 6, 2009

See 'Em with Your Heart

There are times when TV and theatrical productions can illustrate great truths about sin better than words alone could explain. Take a look at the following clip from the 1977 made-for-TV miniseries, Roots, which features two separate scenes that convey the same message: we cannot judge people by the way they look:



In the first segment, Bud's father Tom has been whipped by the KKK after bringing evidence of their guilt to the Sheriff. Bud tells Martha "I'm going to kill those white men someday," and she tells him, "Hate 'em for what they done, but not because they's white." (And in case you're wondering, that is indeed a very young and adorable Todd Bridges playing the role of Bud.)

In the second segment, we see Chicken George reunited with his wife Matilda after a long separation. As they settle in for the night, Tilda says to her husband, "Good thing you come home after dark, George, cuz I's so old and ugly I might scare you to death." Her husband looks at her tenderly and says, "I don't see you with my eyes, honey. I sees you with my heart."

The great thing about these scenes is that the first segment tells us what our response to sin should be: love, not hate. The second tells us how we muster up the faith to respond that way: we see 'em with our hearts. "That's sweet," you say, "But thankfully I don't hate people because they're black, white, or elderly. So this doesn't apply to me." Are you sure about that?

How many times have you said or thought the following (or something like it):
"Men are pigs."
"Men only want one thing."
"Men think with their 'other' head."
"He's a man. Don't expect much."
"Men are stupid."
"Men are inept and can't do anything without a woman's help."
"Men are all the same."
"All of the good ones are married or gay."
"What are you talking about? There are no good men, period."
"I hate men. I hate 'em!"

I once hated men. I figured they were all the same. I remain single because throughout my 20's and early 30's I would not consider the slightest possibility that marriage was worth the price I'd have to pay to submit to "sexual slavery." I hated men because I thought they were all sexist. What a hypocrite I was. The pot doesn't get more prejudiced against the kettle than that!

The world is full of beautiful, godly men. All you need to do is open your heart and look around!The man who inspired this very blog hurt me, defrauded me, and treated me as though I was a "game" to be played instead of a sister in Christ. To make matters worse, he never repented when confronted with his sin. I hate what he did. I hate when any man behaves this way. But I don't hate men for being men. Some of you reading this have gone through much worse than my experience being defrauded in a romantic situation. Some of you have been physically, emotionally, and sexually abused by men. Some of you are children of absent fathers. Some of you are ex-wives of unfaithful husbands. What these men did is irresponsible, hurtful, and sinful. We hate what they've done. But we cannot hate men because they're men. We cannot hate them at all.

As Martha tells Bud, hating whites for being white makes him no different from the men who whipped his Daddy. Does hating men for being men make us any better than the men who took advantage of us for being women? Does it make us feel any better for hating them? Women's Liberation certainly deserves some credit for establishing equal rights for women, but did it end the distrust we have for men? Listen, no Civil Rights movement, no Women's Lib, no Sexual Revolution, or any other political or social cause is going to change what we see with our eyes. If we insist on seeing only the hurt and abuse and injustices that have been done to women throughout the ages, we will never see an end to hatred.

If there are men in your life that you are disrespecting, simply because they are men, I urge you to "see 'em with your heart." Too many of us have our vision obstructed by past hurts to notice, but the world is full of beautiful, godly men. All you need to do is open your heart and look around!

4 comments:

Arthur Sido said...

Not only are all the good ones married or gay, but thanks to east coast states and Iowa a lot of them are married AND gay.

Marianne said...

I can completely agree with you that judging people because of some characteristic, like their maleness or racial heritage or whatever the matter is, is incorrect and against the principle of love as we are taught to know it through the Bible. And I appreciate your discussing separating a person that has caused pain from the group of which they are seen as part. But I have a question: If we recognize a certain mindset among a group of people, an ideological one, do we separate one from the group in that instance as well? I don't claim that all men are bad or wrong or just waiting for a chance to enslave everyone, but can we put a message out to certain belief systems that includes a gender specific aspect in some cases?

Jennifer said...

Hi, Marianne. Thanks for your comments. It's hard for me to say without a specific example, so I thought of a specific example on my own and I would be tempted to say that the answer to your (second) question is yes. I come from a very male chauvinist culture (I'm an Italian American) and while it is true that God gave women as helpers, it is WRONG for men to treat women as though they are nothing more than glorified waitresses, housekeepers, and cooks.

This is the example I thought of, where a certain belief system that is gender specific seems to apply to an entire group. However, I would need absolute knowledge (which I do not have) to be able to apply this to every man in that group. I am certain there are Italian American men out there that do not think this way. So given my example, the answer would be no. But I'm not sure what you had in mind when you asked the question -- maybe you have an example that would warrant a yes.

Thanks again for visiting and sharing your thoughts!

Ms. Modest Fashion Cents said...

As a parent it's imparitive to be able to seperate a "characteristic" from a gender. Regardless of what gender the child is - we all need that objectivity.

I became interested in Christianity when I was a teenager. I don't know if I'd been redeemed at that point - but! Any how!

I was watching one of those "Jesus movies" once and one scene in it struck me as to what it really meant to "be a guy". In the movie "Jesus" had healed some man and a bunch of raving lunatic pharisees came storming over. In the movie, the man who'd been healed sort of hid behind "Jesus" while "Jesus" walked in front of him and stood between him and the pharisees. He physically "stood in the gap" to protect this man from assult. Even though I realized this was just a movie - it left an impression on me at to the character God had intended men to have.

Now here I was, a teenager of an alcoholic mother in a home where my brother had sexually abused all of his sisters. No one "stood in the gap" for me. Even my father wouldn't stand up to my mother who was hell bent on protecting my brother from "those people". (the police - CPS - who ever) Don't take him away - don't take him away - but we aren't going to do anything to make him stop?

I'm 38 years old right now and I've been in recovery since I was 13. Both of my parents are now deceased and I have no contact with my siblings.

I refuse to let my brother near my son because upon mom's death; he sat in a counselor's office infront of me, dad and the counselor and stated he didn't believe what he'd done to us was wrong.

So, here in comes that ever imfamous watered down theological notion that says "love the sinner - hate the sin".

I got two words for that

Bull @#$%!!!!!

God has not obligated Himself to "love the sinner, hate the sin" - even though there are vessles fitted to mercy - some of which have committed horrendous crimes.

God has not obligated Himself to love every unrepentant sinner and so - I don't hold myself to a higher standard than God! I will say this though; what ever God chooses to do with my brother is up to HIM! The best I can do is leave that one alone!

As for me now; I have this little boy I have to figure out the best way to raise. An Autistic 7 year old who - although he has a biological father - really needs a dad! So I pray that my husband - (who seems to be missing a dad himself) learns to be more like Jesus. The one who will stand in the gap and teach this little boy to be a man - not just a male mammal!