Sunday, November 8, 2015

Casting Stones from an Empty Bag!

“You seem like you’re a bit controlling,” he said.

At this point, I felt there was an unofficial announcement to “tear down Kristin” this week and I was completely caught off guard.

We’d only been out one time and talked on the phone twice. But on this particular night, only our second conversation, pulling from what little information he had about me, he felt the need to point out my flaws.  

I innocently shared an old scenario between a roommate and me that didn’t go well concerning rent money. I was simply sharing a story, not looking for scrutiny or counseling, just a listening ear. Instead, I got chastised and judged within the first twenty minutes of the conversation. I was done. I sat in my car and I cried. My emotional, spiritual, and physical tank was on empty. My guard was down, and everything that was fired connected in a detrimental way.

What was going on? From the brother earlier in the week lashing out, attempting to shut me down by alluding that he knew the reason why I was still single, to now this brother calling me controlling!  Not to mention another brother last week who was simply a disappointment in his lack of follow through and accountability, and yet it was still my fault. I figured it out. It’s because I’m black, particularly because I’m a black woman! That has to be it!!

And no, none of these men are my husband or have any significant role in my life. But when your guard is down and you're standing on shaky ground of self confidence, any negative words, no matter who they come from, will hurt, and they did.

And let me just put this out there.  I have no problem admitting my flaws and saying what my struggles are. Heck, I went to counseling for some of my struggles and recommend it everytime I get a chance. My beef is not with what the brothers said, because there’s a bit of truth in every word, but how and when they said it. They weren’t looking to uplift or encourage me.  They were looking to deflect and turn what mirrored their struggles or insecurities and place them on me.

The common denominator amongst these men were their statuses. Each man was single, over the age of 35, one over the age of 40, great jobs, successful, never been married, and no kids.  Hot commodities, right? God’s gifts to the woman, right? Not so! These are men, just like me, who contain all great qualities on paper but have struggles and insecurities, just like me! So why is it that these men think it’s ok to tear down or demonize the woman, particularly the black woman, because of her flaws, yet can't seem to get a clue that there may be a particular reason why they are still single, never been married, and are serial daters.  

If we want to run down stereotypes and stigmas, we’d be here all night. But the point still remains that stereotypes and stigmas come from somewhere. There is some truth in them all. Do some black women have attitudes, declare independence as a badge of honor, and can be a bit controlling and insecure, yes! Do some black men have commitment issues, lack accountability, and believe if they have a little money and a degree that they are God’s gift to women, yes! But we must get a clue, particularly as black men and women. We must uplift and encourage one another as we pursue relationships, whether friendships or romantic.  We must learn how to talk to one another and always seek to speak truth in love and respect.  And most of all, always looking in the mirror before spewing judgment.

I’m reminded of a story in John 8:1-11 in which a woman was found guilty of adultery and was to be stoned by the people of the city. Jesus, being the forgiving, merciful, and loving man that he was and still is, simply said, “The person who is sinless should be the first to throw a stone at her.” (vs. 7)  

One by one they all began to walk away. Jesus went to the woman, stood her up, and asked her,  “did anyone condemn you?”

She replied, “ No one, sir”

He simply replied, “I don't condemn you either. Go! From now on don’t sin.”

I love my black brothers and celebrate their success. But I won't celebrate egotistical, arrogant, men who are blinded by themselves and their success and aren't accountable for their own downfalls and flaws. And neither will I accept it from bitter, insecure, overbearing woman who seek to demonize the black man.  We are all in this struggle called life together and don't have stones to throw because Christ holds them all, yet he throws none!

At the end of the day our confidence and strength lie in God, not in a man or a woman, but we are called to be in relationship with them nonetheless. So, never let a person take what they never gave you: your strength and confidence. I was a victim of it this week, but I promise you I am stronger because of it due to the solid relationships I have around me and the unbeknownst prayers that were sent up when I couldn't pray for myself.  This single and dating life is no joke, and being a minister doesn't negate the struggles that come along with it. I’m presumed to be the strong one, but I just can’t be strong all the time. I’m simply grateful that I have Christ and I'm growing, and that's more than enough for me!