Nicole C. Schroeder

racism, forgiveness, prayer, Jesus, injustice, love

FORGIVENESS MATTERS-PART 1 COMMENTARY: WHERE IS STEPHEN?

4 min read

Last week, God placed it on my heart to ask, “Where are the Stephens in the world?” “Where are the people, who will honor Him and trust in Him during racial tension?” “Where are the people who will pray for the discriminators?” “Who will go to our Father on their behalf?” Where are the people who will say to God, “Do not hold that sin against them?”

            To be honest, I was hesitant to inquire about the “Stephens” in the world because I felt as if I was adding undue pressure on the victims of racism. After all, as a people, Africans and African Americans have endured racism in this country for approximately 400 years. While police brutality is being reported in the media and reposted on social media, it is not a new story. Unfortunately, it is an example of history repeating itself, so there never seems to be time for the wounds to heal and some of us are growing weary in well doing.

            Well, as I spoke to a dear friend and in some ways a spiritual mentor/sister, she reminded me that we are no longer victims. To quote her, she said, “Yes, we were victimized, but we are not victims! We are victorious because Jesus Christ lives on the inside of us.” For that reason, I can ask with more confidence than I had last week, “Where are the Stephens in the world?”

            Well, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the “Stephen” in my life. His name was Thomas Earl Crutcher, aka Brother Thomas to some and Tacky Man to others, and he was my daddy (God rest his soul.) Through his life, he experienced many ups and downs, but he always leaned and depended on the goodness of God. For instance, one morning as he prepared to begin his workday, he was robbed and held at gunpoint. According to my dad, the man called him various racial slurs and threatened to shoot him in the head. He said, “Baby girl, I don’t think I’d ever been that scared. I just started praying for both of us.” I can’t remember the entire conversation, but that stuck out in my mind. He was on the verge of being shot, and he was praying for the robber too. After that, he did not hold that incident against every white person who he met. He understood that one person doesn’t represent an entire race, and he also understood God’s expectations for us as believers in Christ. For Matthew 5:44 (NKJV) states, “… love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”    In my heart, I truly believe that his prayers are the reason that he was not harmed that day.                                               

Another example of his Stephen-like characteristics was how he handled disappointments. You see, he worked for this particular company for many years. Being the Assistant Manager was a blessing; however, he wanted to be the Manager but the opportunities seemed to be out of his reach. Of course, he had several things working against him. He was an African American man, who was less than average height. He worked in a predominately white company, and he was a kidney dialysis patient. Three days a week, his day started at the Kidney Dialysis Center, and he would leave there and go straight to work. He was exhausted most days, but he never let them know it. In fact, when the enemy tried to use those things against him, he just prayed harder. His goal was to let his light shine at work.

A year before he passed away, his dream came true! He received the managerial position that he always wanted and the company had an opportunity to bear witness to a God fearing man, who put his trust in the Lord and not man. To this day, I believe it was his prayers that secured the promotion for him in the heavenly realm. Not just the prayers for himself, but the prayers for others. So, when was the last time you said, “Father, do not hold that sin against them?” When was the last time you prayed for someone who overlooked you solely because of your race? (I’m not talking to a particular race because everyone can experience racism.) When was the last time you prayed for an enemy to receive mercy and find grace? It’s okay. This is new for me too. We can go on this journey together.

Just think about it. Then go to our Father and pray about it.

#soul searching with our Father#

Blessed to have a father who taught me about our Father in Heaven.

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