Missed Beauty

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How have we limited our perceptions of Africa or perhaps of ourselves?

With a history of colonialism, slavery and oppression in Africa, the western world has perpetuated a negative image of the continent.   Images of poverty, disease, war and starvation continue to present an underprivileged Africa.  While challenges are real in parts of Africa there is also so much to celebrate that is lost or unseen in the western world.

The repercussions of the decades of colonialism, slavery and oppression of the African people have also affected the image that many Africans have about themselves.  Africa has been told that it needs the western world, its cultures and worldview if it wants to develop.  Repeated messages of incapability have captured the hearts and minds of many.  The truth is there is a wealth of skills, beauty and potential within Africa that many times are unseen or ignored. 

We need to renew our thinking.  Africa has so much to offer itself and the world!  There are gifted individuals, innovative ideas, strong and passionate individuals that can transform the world if just given a chance.  The western world needs to wake up and instead of pressing western ideals upon the African continent and the people it needs to get behind the beauty and ability within. 

Mark 6:1-3 reads:

Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Isn't this how it often is?  Jesus, who grew up and knew many of those in the synagogue that day began teaching and those "who heard him were amazed."  They felt different and wondered who this man was standing before them.  They felt something shift in their hearts and wondered how this man had gathered such wisdom.  But they talked their way out of recognizing the gift before them.  They were held captive in their hearts and minds that no one around them could be the Messiah.  After all, "Isn't this the carpenter?"   How could "the carpenter" be the Messiah?  This was just Joseph's and Mary's son....  They missed the blessing right before them.  They walked away from an incredible opportunity.  They missed the Messiah that they had been waiting centuries for. 

How are we doing this in our own lives?  Are we denying the ability, beauty and potential within Africa and our African brothers and sisters?  Are we walking away from a powerful opportunity because of the familiar impressions we have been told over and over again about this continent?  Are we robbing ourselves of something incredible? 

The truth is no matter where you are born or what people have told you, you can change the world.  Don't let anyone tell you anything different.