Hey lovelies. I hope you are all doing well. I’ve had a bit of an emotional evening. I was going to write about that and how my emotions were up and down, but I don’t think that’s what I should focus on.
One of my brothers has a daughter, my niece. Her father’s side of the family is black. Her mother’s side of the family is white. I didn’t know that this was an issue for some of the people on her mother’s side. I don’t doubt they love my niece, but my brother brought up a point: if they look at him as an “n word” how do they look at her since he is part of her?
He wants his side of the family to be more involved. He mentioned us focusing more on ourselves than others. I don’t think that’s completely accurate. It is the partial truth though. I can’t really speak for anyone but myself. This year I have been more focused on myself, trying to get things done so I feel like I’m able to focus on everything and everyone else. And then there’s the lack of sharing my family does, so I don’t know when people need me. And related to that, there may be fear of not wanting to step on any toes, violate any boundaries, by being too nosy. Even though being in another state doesn’t help, I don’t feel like it prevents me from being an involved family member (barring the above reasons).
But anyways, let’s go back to the focusing on self. Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” There’s this balance that most people tend to fail at, at least here is the United States. We are so goal oriented. Our identity is found in our jobs. Who we are as a person tends to matter less than what we can do.
Let me clarify, I am not saying this is all people in the United States at all times. I am saying, as a collective whole, our society is ‘me’ focused. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the best for yourself. Work hard, be successful, but don’t forget about the people around you. Too often they can be an afterthought.
The verse says to also have interest in others. We are made to be in relationship. “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone’ (Genesis 2:18a).” Relationships are built on showing interest in others and learning about them.
But then there are others who focus solely on others and forsake themselves. I was talking about this with my relationship group a couple days ago. Some people are selfless and may go to an extreme where they don’t look at their own needs. But we need to look at our own interests and those of the people around us. Part of being able to care for others is being able to care about yourself.
You may have heard the phrase, “How can you love someone else if you don’t love yourself?” I believe there is truth to that. Most of the people I know who say they love their family, but not themselves end up with the love they show others being superficial. Only in name or gifts. Maybe a quantity of time with them, but usually low quality. And they also tend to tie how much their family appreciates them to their self-worth. But self-worth should come from yourself, not others.
And we, you, me, everyone, needs to learn and practice how to truly love. “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good,” Romans 12:9. I looked up the word hypocrisy to make sure I was accurate in what I’m writing. According to the Dictionary.com app on my phone, hypocrisy is “a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.”
I’m not here to judge anyone. I will be the first to admit that I am nowhere near perfect. I am a work in progress. But if I go back to the start of my post and the situation with my niece, it makes me wonder if the people who oppose my brother are truly loving without hypocrisy. (I could look at myself and probably find an example of this hypocrisy, but if we already have an example ready, why not use it?)
I don’t know how they act around my niece, but I’m sure they display love towards her and probably don’t say or do anything outright that would be considered racist towards her. But isn’t that just them having a pretense? Them portraying themselves as being okay with who my niece is, but really not liking or loving a piece of her? A piece of her that she can never rid herself of?
But again, I don’t know the situation. I’ve only heard one side of things. I don’t know the family on her mother’s side. The only one I’ve met is her mom who seems pleasant to me. I’m only asking questions and thinking. It’s possible that they don’t have any racist traits and they just don’t like my brother’s face. It’s not probable, but it’s possible.
Lastly, I want to leave you with 1 Corinthians 13:7, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” My lovelies who have been with me for a bit know that all I want is for people to truly love one another and themselves. And to be able to accept love back. No matter where the people you love are, no matter what you and your loved ones are going through, love can find a way. A way to heal. A way to bond. A way to strengthen. A way to guide. A way to restore faith. A way to change hearts.
And love has a way of extending grace when we feel like we don’t deserve it. And in return, we should extend grace to those we feel might not deserve it. Extend our kindness and forgiveness. That’s why this is Grace-Fill Love. Love should be filled with grace. God extended grace-filled love to us, so why shouldn’t we extend it to others?