The Plank in My Eye

I couldn’t understand how my friend who had endured an egregious breach of trust in her relationship was considering reconciliation.

And then I remembered the arguments I had with my parents as I determined if I needed to end my abusive marriage. The decision seemed obvious to them but I had a lot that I needed to consider, most importantly, the welfare of my child. I needed time to reflect, not pressure from people who would not have to live with my decision.

And I apologized to my friend for questioning her process.

““Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” Mathew 7: 3-4, NIV

Inhale Compassion, Exhale Judgment…
Inhale My Own Business, Exhale Hypocrisy…
Inhale Self-Reflection, Exhale Oblivion…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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Poverty Shaming

I was surprised to see a former military leader suggest the presence of robots at a fast food restaurant was the result of workers demanding an increase in the minimum wage.

There was no blame for the housing industry which has made it difficult for a person with one minimum wage job to afford a place to live or energy companies which are enjoying record setting profits while charging record-setting prices or any other entity which has contributed to a higher cost of living in this country.

Nope. All blame was directed at workers trying to keep their heads above water.

I guess I just expected a little more compassion…

The income-inequality trajectory observed in the United States is largely due to massive educational inequalities, combined with a tax system that grew less progressive…” ~ Beatrice Dupuy, Newsweek

Inhale Compassion, Exhale Inequality…
Inhale Compassion, Exhale Greed…
Inhale Compassion, Exhale Excess…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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More Than Conquerors

In my alternate Wakandan universe, the Black Panther (T’Challa) and Eric “Killmonger” Stevens, (N’Jadaka) work through their ideological differences, reconcile as cousins, and rule together…one inviting risk, pushing the edge of the envelope…one providing the care and compassion all followers long for in their leaders…

“The world is changing. Soon there will only be the conquered and the conquerors. You are a good man, with a good heart. And it’s hard for a good man to be a king.” ~ King T’Chaka, Black Panther

Inhale Passion, Exhale Status Quo…
Inhale Compassion, Exhale Cruelty..
Inhale Collaborator, Exhale Conqueror…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe

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Capacity for Empathy

A friend expressed sadness over #45’s reaction to the latest school shooting, wishing desperately that “just once” there would be a more presidential response. I think he was looking for some demonstrated empathy.

But empathy requires self-awareness and regard for the feelings of others, qualities that seems to elude the current occupant of the White House, who needed a reminder to listen during a listening session with survivors. I don’t think he is capable of responding in any other than the way he always responds…by somehow making this tragedy about him.

AFP OUT U.S. President Donald Trump holds a listening session with students, parents and teachers in the State Dining Room at the White House February 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump is hosting the session in the wake of last week’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead.

“A prerequisite to empathy is simply paying attention to the person in pain.” ~ Daniel Goleman

Inhale Empathy, Exhale Apathy…
Inhale Compassion, Exhale Indifference…
Inhale Connection, Exhale Detachment…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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Traumatized

Scholars like Dr. Joy DeGruy have theorized that white supremacy has traumatized black AND white Americans. “Black people are afraid of a government which has not and will not protect them; white people are afraid that perhaps their injustice, or complicity in the dispensing of injustice, will come back to haunt them.”

That fear of retaliation is at the core of the gun debate…it’s why hate groups have found a safe haven in those institutions initially created to hunt slaves and why the FBI has never referred to the KKK as a terrorist group but recently labeled those peacefully protesting the violence against black bodies “black identity extremists” and warned that police attacks on black Americans could spur “premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence” against the police.

It’s a fear that’s rooted in fantasy, not reality, and yet has resulted in real oppression, real harassment, and real deaths.

“What a world this will be when human possibilities are freed, when we discover each other, when the stranger is no longer the potential criminal and the certain inferior!” ~ W. E. B. Du Bois

Inhale Reality, Exhale Fantasy…
Inhale Compassion, Exhale Complicity…
Inhale Justice, Exhale Guilt…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Sins of the Father

You would think a career criminal turned crusading Christian might have some compassion for the children brought here illegally by parents seeking a better life…but you would be wrong. As I recently discovered, like many evangelicals, this former drug dealer is practicing the religion of white supremacy.

A young man displays his DACA work permit.

I wonder how he would feel if his children had to bear the consequences of HIS criminal activity…

Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?” Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Matthew 22: 36-40

Inhale Compassion, Exhale Accusations…
Inhale Compassion, Exhale Criminalization …
Inhale Compassion, Exhale Scapegoating…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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American Privilege

I saw a post from a fellow, former military member who was tired of seeing posts about race. What privilege it is to be tired of READING about race…to be exhausted from SEEING images of people harassed, arrested and murdered because of their skin color…to be weary of HEARING about race-based religious persecution.

Maybe instead of wishing the marginalized in America would accept their status and keep their persecution to themselves, those who aren’t having the same experiences could exercise a little empathy and effect some change.

Don’t just stand by when your neighbor’s life is in danger…” Leviticus 19:16, MSG

Inhale Compassion, Exhale Contempt…
Inhale Humanity, Exhale Hate…
Inhale Action, Exhale Anger…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Compassion

Have you ever watched someone you’re close to make a stupid choice and wondered, “Why can’t she see this is NOT going to turn out well?”

I’ve done that…and then I remember the stupid thing I did when I didn’t pay attention to my accountability partners or my own inner knowing…my God voice whispering, then shouting… “Don’t. Do It!”

And I work on being a little more compassionate…

It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt?” Matthew 7: 3-4 MSG

Inhale Compassion, Exhale Judgment…
Inhale Compassion, Exhale Hypocrisy…
Inhale Compassion, Exhale Contempt…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Golden Rule

We often want behavior from others that we are unwilling to offer. We ask for respect for our beliefs about life, but judge contrary philosophies as bizarre. We expect forgiveness for our “accidental” harmful actions and words but never let others forget that they intentionally and deliberately hurt us. We demand love but aren’t loveable.

We can’t get what we don’t give…make withdrawals where we haven’t made deposits…reap what we haven’t sown…

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Mathew 7:12

Inhale Compassion, Exhale Apathy…
Inhale Empathy, Exhale Judgment…
Inhale Respect, Exhale Disdain…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Renewal

Today I am grateful for the resurrection that gave hope to the hopeless. In this season of renewal in the midst of confusion and fear, I am praying for sufficient strength to be hopeful, effective faith to believe, and enough compassion to be loving…

Inhale Faith, Exhale Hopelessness…
Inhale Inclusion, Exhale Exclusion…
Inhale Compassion, Exhale Separation…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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