by Gray Graham
If you have been following the site for a few years then you will remember that once upon a time we used to write many articles about love and relationships. Second to our faith section, which is about the love of God, those articles were our most visited section. People would reach out to me to discuss their search for love that they were not able to find.
Even after all of these years some of the same people are still searching for love. Others completely gave up on the idea of receiving the love of others. Instead they chose to focus on only loving themselves. Since they cannot find someone that will give them the love they seek, they focus all of their love on themselves because receiving love is the most important thing there is.
At least that seems to be what many people think these days. Instead of this great gift, people have turned love into this obligation that someone out there is required to fill. That is why you see so many posts across the internet today talk about self-love and self-care, but what they are really talking about is being selfish and lonely.
This applies not only to romantic love but also to the love that a group feels. February is Black History month. The entire reason we have a Black History month is because America tries really hard to make Black people feel like they have no love in their lives.
The stories that America paints of Black people is always one of hopelessness and despair. They make sure that we are always enduring tragedy and trauma every single day. They make sure that it is known that Black love does not exist. That it is just a dream. That Black people can’t possibly just love each other and care about each other.
There are few things in life as disheartening as seeing so many Black people posting on social media about nothing but anger, self-hate, hate of other Black people, and begging for the love of people that hate them.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is truly nothing greater than love, but it must be given and received freely. You do not give love with the expectation of getting love back. If someone is not freely giving you love then you need to remove them from your life. You don’t need that kind of pain and heartache in your life.
God loves us all unconditionally but that doesn’t mean that we are able to do the same for others. It takes a big heart to love another and an even bigger heart to love someone that hates you. Sadly in life we get too much practice loving people that will never love us back. This makes most sad and bitter. It is something that they will never get over.
When you are missing love from your life, that is a hole that can not be filled. Money, power, and fame will not fill that emptiness. Possessions and travels will not fill that hole. The darkness that you feel never gets any light because it is being illuminated with the wrong things. We must first learn to love ourselves and once we do that then we will not feel the need to have others love us.
So today, despite everything that is going on in your life, love yourself. I don’t mean be selfish, I mean just love yourself. No matter what you are going through, love who you are today. Know that God loves you and he has more than enough love to carry you through everything in your life.
Once you can do these things then everything in life gets so much easier. Now take that love you have and share it with someone else, no strings attached. If more of us do this then we will make the world a great place full of happiness and joy. Until that day we can let our love shine because you never know if that is the light another soul needs to lead them out of darkness.
by Gray Graham
We spend a lot of time trying to help the bad people. The people that have incredibly hard lives or just poor lost souls. We want them to know that they are loved and that someone cares about them. We want them to know that we will forgive them for all the wrong that they have done or will do. We are hoping and wishing that they will turn from their bad ways, that they will join us on the good side. But what about good people? How much love are we giving to them?
In times like these it is easy to forget the good people out there. Working hard. Taking care of their families. People making daily sacrifices trying to make the world a better place; one small, kind jester at a time. We often take these people for granted barely saying thank you for all the wonderful things that they do for us.
Somewhere along the line we decided that good people don’t need a thank you, a hug, or any love. Somehow it is wrong that a good person would need these things. It would be like giving them a reward for being good and that wouldn’t make them pure of heart or all that good anymore.
We hold good people to a completely different standard than we do people that are bad. We praise a bad person for simply not doing something terrible but crucify a good person for not being perfect all the time.
For the strongly convicted good person this is something that doesn’t bother them at all. Being good for them is it’s own reward and they don’t require anything else. For those more human an act of kindness every now and then would definitely pick up their spirits.
We need to spend more time spreading love, not just to those dark souls, but also to those people that we think are beacons of light. If we did this more maybe we would have more beacons of light and less darkness. We are much stronger together than we are apart.
There is nothing more powerful than a group of people sharing the love of God in fellowship. In such an environment anything is possible. It can help you endure all that life can throw at you. It is definitely something that we need right now.
Sadly we do not do enough to check on our good family and friends because they are strong and always take care of everything. But what about those days when darkness is coming for them and they feel all alone? Don’t you think it would be nice if they had someone there praying for them and supporting them?
We have to remember that we all need love and needing love is not reserved for the wicked. Good people need acts of kindness and mercy just like everyone else. We should do all we can for everyone so that we can come closer together is service to God. Spreading love is something we need to do for everyone not just those that we think need to come to the light.
by Gray Graham
It’s everyone’s favorite time of the year and life really in America. It’s that time when we have to decide who we are going to choose as the leader of our country. If you are a devout Christian that loves the Lord and tries with all your power to follow Him then it is especially hard. Well actually it really isn’t that hard but if you follow a lot of “Christians” then they will have you believe that it is an agonizing decision when it really is not.
The problem lies in the “Christian” and not in their choice of a candidate. See in America we have a group of people that are Christian in name only. Nothing about how they live their lives is following the teachings of Jesus Christ. No matter how many scriptures they read, sermons they preach or hear, nothing moves them to actually live their lives in a way that is in keeping with a servant of God.
As Jesus tells us, many people do acts that seemingly follow God, but their hearts are not in those acts. They will follow these acts with other acts that are blatantly sins against God and will not think anything of it. We have people that take the name of Jesus and they use it for evil against the children of God.
And let us not pretend that this is something new. This is something that has been going on for thousands of years. The scars and damage can be seen across the world. Entire civilizations and people have been wiped out in the name of Jesus. Untold pain and suffering all committed in the name of Jesus.
Not only do these “Christians” commit these acts but they never acknowledge that they have done anything wrong. In their minds nothing wrong has been done especially when they refuse to acknowledge that the victims are human beings created in the image of God.
All of this brings me back to the point where it is not difficult for someone that loves God and lives to do His will to pick a candidate to vote. It is however extremely difficult for someone that says that they love God and says that they live to do His will.
There have been many times in the past where we have had candidates that we did not have to lean on our faith in order to chose a candidate because they were all of the same moral character so many of their actions and decisions would be very similar. There are other times when the differences have been glaring and frightening to many Americans because it meant their lives would change for the worse.
Many “Christians” love saying how they are not perfect but for some reason many want their politicians to be perfect servants of God. I am sorry but it is not possible to pick a perfect politician from a pool of imperfect people. Your church leaders are not perfect and you are perfectly fine with that so I don’t understand why you expect a politician to be perfect.
But this expectation of perfection is only reserved for one political party in our country. Everyone else is allowed to be flawed. It is probably their own fault for choosing to act like something they are not. They try to be the best of all worlds when they are really just slightly better than the other options.
I understand for the average person politics is scary. I understand that often politics deals with topics that many don’t quite understand. It also deals with things that people don’t quite like. It often deals with things we just don’t like. All of these things have led to a culture and a society of fear, apathy, and ignorance.
It’s easier to say they are all exactly the same and not vote than it is to work and understand why they are different and that would take a lot of time and effort that many people don’t want to exert. Somehow “Christians” can figure out how to work for imperfect sinful companies, live in an imperfect sinful culture, participate in an imperfect sinful economic system and make clear choices and decisions everyday in a sinful world yet when it comes to voting for a candidate all of sudden it is an impossible task.
My personal preference and desire would be to let worldly people make worldly decisions to govern the world. I live my life for Heaven and not for life on Earth. The problem with that is that it does not help people in need beyond what I am able to do on my own. That is the very definition of faith without works. It might reduce my stress and keep me from seeing bad things but it is not me doing something to help God’s children that are in need.
There are times when we as servants of God have to do things that we don’t actually like but it is serving the greater glory of God. It is at these times where we are examples of God’s glory here on earth and that is always needed.
So no Christians that truly follow God are not going to just vote for anyone that is an open racist, bigot, and spreads hate and fear. Only people that say that they follow God yet do nothing to keep His Word would think that is acceptable. America has a long history of calling people that enslave others, burn down churches, and kill the innocent as good “Christians”. It would seem that this long running American tradition continues today and will continue long into the foreseeable future especially when so few “Christians” have the courage to speak against these sins.
by Gray Graham
It was decided eons ago that Black people would be the example of human perfection. No matter the hardship or obstacle; humanity looks to Black people to be the example of human perfection. Anything less that perfection from Black people is completely unacceptable.
The first example Black people showing exceptional tolerance is that Black people accepted being called black. In our culture the color black represents darkness, magic, death, and evil. Nothing in our culture that was called black was thought of as a good thing. It is no accident that when it was decided to create the concept of race that black was chosen to identify people with brown skin as being black. It was done to clearly demonstrate that these people with darker brown skin were less than human.
Since Black people were thought of as less than human, they were treated as less than human and they have continued to be treated as less than human for centuries. From slavery, to racism, to segregation, to discrimination; Black people are at the bottom of our society and the top of nearly every single negative category. Black people have been oppressed by our society for hundreds of years with every single ethnic group taking part in that oppression.
Even though we have been oppressed for centuries, we are not allowed to ever mention this truth. The mere mention of our oppression and subjugation causes anger in people therefore we must just endure this injustice. The only way that we are allowed to mention our plight is in the most peaceful way possible. It doesn’t matter if someone uses water hoses, attack dogs, burning crosses, tear gas, tasers, guns or tanks, we must remain calm and peaceful to be trampled upon by the powers that be.
The only way that a Black person is considered worthy at all is that individual has to be a pinnacle of human sanctity. First it was just our physical appearance. An attractive woman is still an attractive woman. A handsome man is still a handsome man. A hardworking loyal maid is invaluable. A clever man with good ideas can improve your business. A good brilliant, hardworking Black person was therefore almost human or at the very least a useful tool.
Black people quickly realized that in order to survive in life that it was not good enough to just be good. No Black people had to be better. And not just better by a little bit. They had to be better by a lot. Black people had to be the best of the best just to get a little reward in this country. This brings us to where we are now with the concept of Black excellence.
You might have noticed during the recent protests various protesters in person and on social media holding signs or posting messages that said something like “I am the child of a prostitute drug addict and my daddy died in prison but now I have a pH D because Black is great” or “I have a Black business and worth millions so my life is valuable”.
Black people have completely bought into the belief that a Black person is only valuable when they have achieved some form of status and wealth. Anything less than that means the Black person’s life is not worth anything.
As an example we can look at the NFL and how Black quarterbacks are paid compared to their white counterparts. An average white quarterback is paid significantly more than an above average to excellent Black quarterback.
Another example would be in the entertainment industry. Until recently the only people that were ever punished for saying something wrong were Black celebrities. Even now a Black person that says something offensive will be fired and let go in a matter of hours if not minutes for other groups it used to take weeks or months of constant protesting and bad PR before they were let go with a large severance package.
If you are still reading you might be thinking, what exactly is inspiring about all of this? I don’t really feel inspired. Reading this stuff is making me feel bad. Well inspiration doesn’t just come from things that make us feel good. In fact I would say most of the time inspiration comes from trying to make bad things right. America needs to make the way it has treated Black people right and it has not chosen to do so.
See you can’t oppress a group of people for generations and then one day say okay from today forward we are going to treat you just like we treat us. What about the wrongs you have done to these people? What are doing to right those wrongs? Have you paid your debts for the wrong you have done?
And let’s be honest, no one honestly believes that Black people today are being treated as equals in American society. Sure there are many successful African Americans: President, Senators, Congresspersons, generals, cabinet members, CEO’s, and billionaires. We are at the point now where African Americans have achieved great individual success but the average African American has not been so successful. Income is the lowest. Health is the lowest. Marriage rate is the lowest. Prison population percentage is the highest. Racism is still alive and well.
I am all for fighting against all forms of hatred. I, however, am not in favor of only requiring this standard from Black people. We should not be the model for the greatest that humanity can be when everyone else is allowed to just be average or below average. You can not discriminate against a Black person all their lives and then expect them to have this undying love for all humans when all humans have not shown that same level of love to them.
In America today the average net worth of a white family is about $170,000. The average net worth of a Black family is $17,000. No that is not a typo or a mistake. It is reality. It is the reality of a group of marginalized people that are discriminated against in every aspect of their lives, yet America expects them to hold no animosity towards the people that discriminate against them.
There is a meme that has been going around the internet for years that shows the difference between equality and equity. It would seem that when it comes to understanding prejudice and bigotry we do not apply those thoughts. In order for their to harmony in America, Black people are going to have to be great forgiving souls.
Other groups of people grab guns when they are told to remove symbols of racism. Black people are told to love and forgive instead of seeking rightful retribution. Such behavior takes people of strong moral character. We are lucky that all that Black people seem to want is to be treated like everyone else and that still seems like too much to ask.
We have been blessed to have many Black people that have been giants among humans such as Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois, Harriet Tubman, James Baldwin, Ella Baker, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Justice Thurgood Marshall, Medgar Evers, and so many more giving human beings. They that took it upon themselves to be examples of how great humans can be even in the most dire of circumstances. It was a burden no one should have to bare but we are thankful that they did. Black people should not have to be seen as angels in order for our lives to having meaning.
by Gray Graham
Good people are good people. Bad people are bad people. It really is that simple. We spend way too much time making it more complicated than that. Bad trees do not bear good fruit.
We often see people try to explain away the behavior of bad people. We have a long grocery list of all the reasons and excuses for why their bad actions are okay. We try to find that magically spiel that will turn a lifelong bad person into a good person. Sorry my friend it just doesn’t happen that way.
See good people are good people. It doesn’t matter who the good person is they are going to be good because that is what good people do. Every good person has the same opportunity to be bad as a bad person has to be good; they just choose to be good instead.
Too many people today are too caught up in the package the good person comes wrapped; whether it has a pink, bronze, beige, or hickory bow. If the good person comes in the wrong package then we want to reject it even though it may be exactly what we need at that moment.
When you fight against something so bad; that seems like it is winning, you inevitably start thinking that bad is right. But you don’t want bad you want good so you need bad people to become good. It is only natural that you think you have to convert bad people because everyone wants to be good, right?
The problem is defining what is good. It is suppose to be easy when you share the same faith as another person. You can look to that faith as a guide to define right and wrong at least in theory. This is probably easier with other religions than say with Christianity which in our society is a personal thing. Many people claim the title of Christian but few Christians actually hold the same beliefs on a number of important issues. Historically people that identified as Christians have believed that killing Native Americans was good, enslaving Africans was good, and burning witches at the stake was good.
Since we are on touchy subjects let me point out that family and friends do not get a get-out-being- bad-free card. Too many people overlook the bad things family and friends do because they are family and friends. Just because you like or even love a person does not excuse their bad behavior. You can love a person that is still a thief, liar, racist, bigot, rapist, or murderer. You should not excuse their behavior just to keep the family together no matter what.
There are so many good people in this world that definitely could use our love and support. Encouragement and fellowship are keys to having a good soul and strong faith. There is nothing like having good people praying for you; helping you deal with life’s ups and downs. These are the types of nurturing relationships we should be seeking and not the one’s where we are trying to make someone change.
People come to God in their own time. We might be ready for someone to make that big change in their life but they are not quite ready to make that leap. Instead of depleting our energy trying to overcome their negative we should instead trust that when they want to find God, He will be right there waiting for them and that relationship will last a lifetime.
See when someone wants to be good there is not a force in this world that will keep them from trying. No obstacle will be too large or too great. They will endure whatever it takes to accomplish their righteous task.
We have to learn to accept people where they are in life and we need to understand that everyone does not have the desire to be good. For a lot of people that is something that holds no value for them. Well at least the Bible’s version of good that I follow in my life. For others it may be something else. I hear money is important to a lot of people.
I prefer good people and the righteousness of God. Others have the choice to decide what is important to them. Pray that the path they choose will one day lead them to God.
by Gray Graham
It was not long ago in the business world and probably the general public, no one would expect an international corporation to issue public statements about current social issues. After all businesses exist only to make money, they are not created to have morals.
Of course this was never true. A business is nothing more than an individual or group of people that use their collective resources to increase their wealth. The policies of nations have always been decided by those with wealth who use that wealth to influence what decisions their leaders made. This has been the case throughout human history.
So it should come as no surprise that companies today quickly issue statements against sexism and racism. They know that for a lot of their clients and employees these statements provide a level of dedication that can not be achieved any other way. They are also aware that the opposite is true and a number of clients will be turned off by these messages and no longer do business with them. I am sure a lot of office meetings with a lot of sweating have happened the past couple of years trying to decide; to speak or stay silent.
The other side of this coin are those public figures that have a very loud opinion on just about everything the instant it happens but when the world is discussing a topic like say racism they are strangely silent. So many people like this lack the courage to embrace their current unpopular opinion. We all can pretty much guess where they stand on the current issue, but until they speak we can only speculate but their silence speaks volumes.
Now do I put much value into companies making these big proclamations in support of social issues? No. I am much too cynical for that. Even though I am old enough to remember that my boss would drop the n-word when addressing me, I am not naive enough to believe that this many hearts have changed in that short of time. I know that companies are making these statements because they believe it is good business not necessarily because they believe in them.
So do you really want a company to make a hollow statement or would you prefer they just kept on doing business as usual? I have seen plenty of companies issue statements that I know do not support the cause they just said they did. For instance you can not be a cosmetics company that issues a statement saying you support Black Lives Matter but then have no products for Black women.
This is probably why it takes protests in the streets and threats of boycotts to get a statement out of most companies. In a country like ours where everything from fighting a pandemic to kids watching TV is a political issue, companies are always caught between a rock and a hard place, which begs the question do we really want our companies taking a stand on social issues? It’s great when you see some support what you believe but not so great when you see them support the other side.
It has always been my belief that good people shine through and you can find them anywhere. I have worked for companies that had nice corporate slogans and mission statements that were as bad as you can be. I have worked at companies that never said anything about anything but making a profit that had some of the best people I have ever known working there.
At the end of the day actions speak louder than words. Having your PR person issue a statement that gets you likes and retweets for a week is one thing. Firing a high profile employee as soon as they do something immoral or making a policy in support of civil rights that you know is going to upset the majority of your customers says a lot more. Let’s pray for and work with the people that control businesses to show them that they are not separate from society but an integral part of who we are as human beings.
by Gray Graham
This year probably more than any year in recent memory we are seeing just how important fathers are to our lives. It is not a new revelation but it is one that causes a lot of people to feel a certain way because of their personal life experiences.
When we think of our fathers we get a certain feeling of love and confidence that gives us the strength to go through many of life’s difficult situations. Our father’s love and feelings carries us through our lives and is the cornerstone of so many aspects of who we are.
Well that is the way some people feel, others feel nothing but pain and anguish. While many people have a loving mother in their lives, for some a father is a missing element that never gets replaced. This missing element is something that affects a lot of things especially a view of self.
I remember many, many years ago, how people felt about children that had lost their fathers. Their families and the community would try their best to shower love and support to the family to help fill the void left by the missing father. Grandfathers and uncles would make sure that they would take on the father role in the children’s lives.
But sometimes fathers are not lost they just go missing or never were there. These situations are probably the worst for their children because it feeds negative feelings of abandonment, neglect, and self-esteem that follow them throughout their lives. It is something many never overcome no matter how hard they try.
We have a lot of children growing up today that have either an absent father or a part-time father. Time spent with their father is rare and fleeting, reserved for weekends, holidays, and summer vacation. The daily routine of life with a father is missing from their lives. They don’t know what it is like to have a father available to support them every time he is needed.
Our society has attempted to fix this problem by negating the need of fathers in a child’s life. We as a society have decided it is not important to have your father in your life. The family foundation of husband and wife; father and mother is a pipe dream or nightmare to many. I don’t think many people give a thought to the complicated life situations they place their children or how it will affect them the rest of their lives.
Can I say that fathers are important? Can I also say that husbands that are fathers are also important? Can I say that families that are made of fathers and mothers are important? Can I say that these things are not only important but very much needed?
Fathers are the foundation on which families are built. They are the rock that supports the entire family. They are the bond that keeps the family balanced and together. Take away the father and the family becomes unbalanced and far too often crumbles apart.
Fathers provide love, support, and protection for us and we definitely need all those things today. Fathers sacrifice so much so that they can take care of their families. They try to do everything they can for their families while asking for nothing in return. Not even a simple thank you.
Instead of diminishing fathers to make others feel better, let’s support fathers and understand that they help to uplift everyone in their lives. So many fathers not only support their families but they are often the pillars of their communities. Many fathers take on the added responsibility of being a father to the fatherless.
One thing that has been great to see are the expressions of love from so many sons and daughters for their fathers. Mothers and children that have a great father in their lives embrace that blessing and return it in kind. There is nothing like the love of a father and it is an important piece of a loving, happy family.
by Gray Graham
When I first started writing for our website many years ago, I was the person that pointed out those things that most people overlooked that were maybe not so great. I tried to do it in the most loving, positive way I knew how making sure to learn along the way.
Funny thing is that approach got me a lot of hate, a lot of attacks, and a lot of people that walked away from my loving message. Even the person that first supported me in my efforts has since decided that path was not for them.
I would say that many people today believe things are worse today than they were back then. Sure some people have more money, better jobs, married, and kids; but is the average person happier today than they were just a few years ago?
Even if we are happy in our own personal individual lives how often does that happiness spread to other people? Do we feel a similar joy when we interact with other people? I am guessing most people feel like the answer is no.
Unlike so many inspirational and motivational speakers, I am not going to pretend like there are not a lot of people doing a lot of bad things to others in this world. Over the past few years there are groups of people that have made it their life’s work to make the lives of others as miserable and as difficult as possible. The kicker is they do it with a smile and it would seem with great joy and pleasure.
Often there is a reason that many people appear to be cold and guarded when dealing with other people. Just in our everyday lives most deal with a number of situations that test our faith and our patience and our strength to endure.
So yes there are a lot of bad people in this world doing bad things, that doesn’t mean that we should let their bad behavior affect our love and caring for others and the hope of a better tomorrow. I have seen far too many people that have decided that the only way to fight mean and nasty people is to become mean and nasty also. It is the in thing to be bad, mean, and nasty. Who today wants to be thought of as a good nice person?
I for one do and will do so even if I am the only one. Luckily for me there are many good people in this world. They are not perfect. They are not always nice. They don’t always do the right thing, but they do always work to be better and they get it right more times than not.
You can still do what’s right in life without being dragged down to the levels of evil and wickedness. You just have to accept that you may not have much company. I would go so far as to say you should expect that most people are going to behave exactly the same regardless of how much love and kindness you send their way.
Being the best you is something that you do for yourself and your own peace, not so that it will be reciprocated by others. We are blessed because sometimes it is and that is what makes life so great. Remember the next time something upsets you and makes you angry, it is just as easy to make the best of that situation with as much love and hope as you can find as it is to give into anger, hate, and despair. It is always our choice, so choose wisely. Trust me you will feel much better.