RATS in the Temple

A Message From The Publisher

By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.

 As we celebrate the Reverend Dr.  Martin Luther King, Jr., I’m reminded of the saying, “Team work makes the Dream work”, to how we must do our part in fulfilling our roles in making his dream become a reality. Below are parts of a speech that I gave at the 19 Annual Prayer Breakfast in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for the Fayetteville Cumberland County Ministerial Council, Inc., early 2000s in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  — Bobby R. Henry, Sr.

      You people are perfect which reminds me of a middle-aged man and his wife who both had heart attacks at the same time and were taken to the hospital. While on the operating table, they had near death experiences. Seeing God, they asked, “If their time was up?” God said, “No, you sir have another 43 years, two months and eight days to live and you Miss will outlive him another 10 years.” Upon recovery, they both decided to stay in the hospital and have some cosmetic surgery done, i.e, a facelift, liposuction in the hips and lips tummy tucks, permanent eyebrows nose jobs, you know the works.. Since they had so much more time to live, they figured might as well look good. Following their final cosmetic operations, they were released from the hospital. While crossing the street on their way home, they both were struck and killed by an ambulance. Arriving in front of God, They demanded, “We thought you said we had another 40 plus years to live? Why didn’t you pull us out of the path of that ambulance? “God replied, “Because I didn’t even recognize either of you!!!”

You see when we think that we are ALL OF THAT and a bag of chips that’s when stuff happens!

God can use anybody just the way they are. Take a look at Me. I was a teenage father, a high school dropout; I left the army before my enlistment was up. I went to three different HBCUs before I earned my degree. I won’t bore you with the details which lured me off the paths of righteousness because it my send some of you good God-fearing Christians and Holier than thou people into shock!! God uses what He makes no matter the condition: Noah was a drunk, Abraham was to old, Isaac was a day dreamer, Jacob was a liar, Leah was ugly, Joseph was abused, Moses hade a speech impediment, Gideon was afraid, Samson had long hair and he was a womanizer,  Rehab was a prostitute, Jeremiah and Timothy were to young, David had an affair and was a murder, Elijah was suicidal, Isaiah preached naked, Jonah ran from God, Naomi was a widow,  Job went bankrupt, Peter denied Christ, The disciples fell asleep while praying, Martha worried about everything, the Samaritan woman was divorced more than once, Zacharias was to small, Paul was to religious, Timothy had an ulcer and Lazarus was dead! I dare not ask how many of you don’t fit the descriptions just mentioned because all of you might raise your hands!!

Not I but Christ be honored, loved, exalted; Not I but Christ be seen, be known, be heard; Not I but Christ in every look and action; Not I but Christ in every thought and word. — This is 19th Century Hymn was written by Mrs. A. A. Whiddington

For my moments of reflection here this morning I want to tag and give meaning to this speech from the perspective of: RATS IN THE TEMPLE CAN KILL THE DREAM.

The great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Langston Hughes asks the question “what happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore– And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over– like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?

As we begin to celebrate the hopes of a dream deferred, let us be mindful of the fact that we cannot appreciate the fulfillment of the dream unless we rid the temple of RATS.

A temple is a construction set aside for religious or spiritual behavior, such as prayer and sacrifice, or related ceremonies. The Roman Temples in Buddhism symbolize the pure land or pure surroundings of a Buddha. Traditional Buddhist temples are designed to encourage inner and outer peace.

Rats black, brown, gray, or white are aggressive, omnivorous animals that have a preference for areas of human surroundings, where they can without difficulty, discover food. They have intense senses and can leap, tunnel, scale, or gnaw their way into seemingly difficult to get into places. They reproduce exceedingly fast and quickly (up to 150 offspring a year) and they have a small number of expected killers but a whole lot of haters! Rats are notorious for passing on numerous of human infections and have been known to eradicate entire grain supplies. Rats are believed to anticipate the devastation of any house or ship they are living in, and will abandon it before destruction; hence, the proverbial saying that ‘rats leave a sinking ship’ low-down, dirty, filthy, Black plague carrying stinking rats.

Of course, I’m not talking literally about rats and a temple, metaphorically and figuratively speaking; I’m referring to the temple as a body of people, i.e., families, organizations, churches, and the various conglomerations of individuals. While my use of RATS to which I speak is an acronym for: Resentment, Animosity, Treachery and Selfishness. These are formidable attitudes that will destroy a temple faster than white people use to move out neighborhoods when Black folk move in. Now they can’t— hard times know no boundaries or the color of the skin.

These rats Resentment, Animosity, Treachery and Selfishness will force upon the most secrete temples financial destruction, annihilation of possessions, desolation and force entire communities and countries into ruins.

RATS will cause our children to suffer by creating separate and unequal educational systems, Resentment, Animosity, Treachery and Selfishness will create a blind eye to police brutality and return verdicts of justifiable homicide. RATS in the temple Resentment, Animosity, Treachery and Selfishness shorten life expectancies through disparities in health care and deprive persons or organizations of privileges, immunity, or legal right, especially the right to vote! and when that doesn’t work RATS will create laws that they feel “will take their country back” and then invite you and I to a TEA Party.

However, the magnitude to the afforded mentioned, none of their campaigns can bring to fruition the onslaught of a travesty of injustice that could ever measures up to the HUMAN PSYCHOLOGICAL damage that RATS leave behind– They can destroy DREAMS!

When temples are infested with RATS, Resentment, Animosity, Treachery and Selfishness people go to war with one another for personal pleasures and the outcomes are disastrous. The Book of James 4:1-3 reads: “Why do you fight and argue with each other? Isn’t it because you are full of selfish desires that fight to control your body? You want something you don’t have, and you will do anything to get it. You will even kill! But you still cannot get what you want, and you won’t get it by fighting and arguing. You should pray for it. Yet even when you do pray, your prayers are not answered, because you pray just for selfish reasons.”

“A house divided cannot stand.” In our own selfish pursuits, we sometimes invite the RATS Resentment, Animosity, Treachery and Selfishness to come and live in our temples with no contemplation on how our actions may affect the other members of our temple. With RATS death is inevitable!!

We must set in motion the eradication of rats from our temples and then we must decontaminate our temples to further prevent an invasion of such a debilitating infestation of scourges like RATS Resentment, Animosity, Treachery and Selfishness.

We must equip ourselves with the proper instruments and have the discerning knowledge to be able to use them proficiently.

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Think not that you are limited Because of what you cannot do But think instead of all you have— The talents God has given you. —D. De Haan

Spiritual gifts are meant to be used, not admired.

But before the extermination of the temples is set in motion, the exterminators themselves must undergo a cleansing process; we shall call that process LIFE: Love Introspection, Forgiveness and Endurance. Before God is ready to use us, He has to transform folk because we got issues. Or if King David was here you could ask him but if you needed a brighter blinding example read about Saul and his trip on the road to Damascus. Jonah’s selfishness and Job’s suffering are all examples of how God transforms His exterminators from the ordinary to do the extraordinary. As a matter of fact, God’s exterminators once transformed, their weapon of choice is LOVE.

If we don’t know, we should know that LOVE conquers all because God is LOVE.

To continue in the process of cleaning the temple there must be some INTROSPECTION that causes you to go from who you are to whose you need to be and while you are headed along in the right direction pick up some FORGIVENESS it’s hard to clean while you’re still carrying garbage in your spirit. It never fails just when you thought it was almost over you discover that you’ve only just begun and at this point you realize this is when you will need some ENDURANCE; fret not for LIFE —Love Introspection, Forgiveness and Endurance will see you through it.

An outlook of an unassuming nature served the exterminators well. As opposed to longing for themselves to be noticed, everything they did was done in line with God’s will.  John 3:30 says: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Before we allow the RATS Resentment, Animosity, Treachery, and Selfishness into the temple to kill the dream we must reintroduce a new transformed LIFE (Love Introspection Faith and Endurance) into the war to keep the dream alive.

As I take my seat

I’m reminded of the poor mouse nobody wanted to help even though he spent his life living with them. A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. What food might this contain? The mouse wondered – he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house! The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head, and said, ‘Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me.’’ I cannot be bothered by it.’ The mouse turned to the pig and told him, ‘There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!’ The pig sympathized, but said, I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. ‘Be assured you are in my prayers.’ The mouse terrified ran to the goat screaming ‘There is a mouse trap in the house’ The goat sorry mouse there’s naaaaaaaaything I can do. The mouse turned to the cow and said ‘There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!’ The cow said, ‘mooooo, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose. ‘So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house — like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient. But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer’s wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral, there were even people from the Island, so the farmer had the cow slaughtered and made curry goat to provide enough meat for all of them. Out of all this the mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

WHEN A DREAM as impressive as Dr. King’s for freedom, justice, and equality not for some but for all, is being channeled to become a nightmare what do we do to bring us to a position of WOKE?

Black Men, as powerful as we are, when our existence becomes vulnerable by the annihilation  of our roots, the dismantling of families pitting Black man against Black woman, while our communities are turned into graveyards of terrors by RATS; Resentments, Animosity, Treachery, and Selfishness– and we sit back on our hands and do nothing we are no better than the disease infected rats that come to destroy the spiritual man which leads to the death of us as a people..

In his Letters from the Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote: “If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.”

You can’t have solidarity in the temple if it is filled with RATS, Resentments, Animosity, Treachery, and Selfishness.

RATS can and will kill the dream—If we let them!!


Thank you and God Bless you!

About Carma Henry 21268 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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