By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew
BATON ROUGE, La. – When I was a little boy growing up in Amite, La., I can remember the first time I went to school. From day one, it was hard for me. The black kids had to sit at the back of the bus and in the back of the class room. As a kid, I didn’t know what was going on, but I do know that we were treated very badly in and out of the classroom.
The white kids would laugh at us. The black kids were last at everything in school. Sitting in that classroom was one of the
hardest things we had to endure. Fear was a reality for the black kids, for we never knew what was going to happen from day to day. It was difficult to learn in that environment. For some of us, our grades began to suffer, and so we were placed in special education studies. We were looked at as the unlearned kids.
I can recall my siblings and me tell our mother how bad we were being treated. I still recall the pain I felt sitting at the table as I cried to my mother about what was happening at school. As a 6 year old, it was hard to understand why. Day in and day out we went to school feeling this way, being called the “N-word” all the time. I just didn’t understand.
When I got home from school one day, I asked my mother if we had some white paint. She wanted to know why I needed the paint. I told her I wanted to make my skin white so I would not endure the pain of being ridiculed. There were days when I cried because I felt worthless. Sadly, I was starting to hate myself for being black.
At this point, my mother sat me down. She picked up the Bible on the coffee table, and we read scriptures, specifically Matthew 5:44 and John 13:34-35. In Matthew, Christ said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (KJV). He echoes this in John: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another./By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (KJV).
My mother asked us to do what Jesus said to love your enemies’ and she gave us a song to sing. The name of the song was, “I’ve Got The Love of Jesus.” When my siblings and I went back to school, we prayed and the song reined my heart and mind. I was able to overcome this situation in the name of Jesus; I still hear that song in my heart. In any situation you might experience, God will empower you to overcome. He will give you joy to overcome.
Grelan Muse Sr. is founder of Inside The Pew (@pewtalk) and founder of Emanuel and The Mainline Ministries (@EMM4Christ). To respond to this column, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.