I used to think a long time ago that the struggle of good and bad was between black and white. A dance with a struggle and a rendezvous with hardship showed me that color is not the main driver of injustice when it comes to the notion of injustice for poverty and iniquity comes for all. So then my stance was modulated and I was convinced that the true struggle is between the powerful and the rest and that injustice was purveyed by a tiny few against the rest. This is the basis and foundation on which Ghion Journal is built on—to give voice to those who are voiceless and to speak against the few who oppress the masses.
But upon deep reflection and observation, even this understanding of powerful versus the rest is lacking for it takes out of the equation the deep seeded hubris in humanity that gives birth to injustice and inequality. When I was living a life of latte sipping social justice warrior embraced by upper middle class comfort, it was easy to romanticize the struggles of the least among us and to elevate the plight of the poor and to attribute virtues to those who have little and bang against those who have been blessed with much. Then one day my life of biscottis during work week and popping bottles on the weekend was replaced by indigence and discomfort as I soon found myself next to the very homeless people I was once trying to speak up for.
Though the hardships have been many and the stigma of losing all has been arduous, I am nevertheless thankful for in hardship I found a purpose. But in the midst of purpose I also found a confounding paradox for the notion of the powerless being oppressed by the powerful gave way to a minutia that my mind heretofore had not considered. What I observed over and over again over the past two years is that the powerless make it hard on the powerless as much as the powerless run roughshod over us. True enough some of the most wonderful people I have met over the past two years had little to their names yet kept giving regardless. But I also kept running into those who insisted on lashing out and trying to break others because of their own brokenness.
Hubris is the problem; instead of giving grace, too many chose to give arrogance and abrasiveness. It’s the oddest thing; the less people have authority the more they abuse the little power they have. I’ve never met so many bosses in my life as I have when I was working minimum wage jobs over the past two years. Not all were like this mind you for truly some went out of their way to give grace and to give a helping hand to others who were struggling just like them. But those who chose different and opted to be pernicious would wield the little power they thought they had as a cudgel in order to whip others into submission.
This is the problem of the world; too many people choose to be gods instead of being brothers and sisters to fellow strugglers in this journey called life. This story of ego and pride is as old as Genesis for it was the desire to be like God that opened the door for the devil to tempt Adam and Eve into a life of sin and wantonness. Ever since the original sin, we keep eating of one apple after another as we let the desires of the flesh overcome the true Godlike spirit of being humble and kind to one another. Hubris is at the core of all wars from the conflicts that unleashes hell on nations by way of bombs and bullets to the battles within ourselves to let good overcome evil in our spirits.
So today, on a day I always reserve to reflect about the goodness of this world and be thankful for the blessings I keep receiving, I ask all of us to be less prideful and instead choose to display grace to others as well as to ourselves. We can be like God if we choose but only if we decide to be kind and loving instead of thinking we can remake others into our image. Forgive much and forbear even more and extend mercy to even those who offend us. I write this for me as much as the reader for this is an area I struggle with the most. But the first step towards change is to understand our shortcomings and then to speak them into existence. Have a blessed day all and be always grateful even in the midst of struggles. #SabbathEpistle
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” ~ Ephesians 2:8-9
The purpose of the Sabbath Epistle, a weekly series on Ghion Journal, is not to push religion or impose my faith. It is simply a testimony of observations and a sharing of my growth as I talk about faith without thinking that my belief is superior to others. If you like this testimony and believe in the core aspect of the message, share this article on social media using #SabbathEpistle and also make sure to check out the Ghion Cast below that talks about this notion of imposition of believes on others by viewing the clip below.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.