Breaking the Cycle: A potentially incredible city

Rev. Dr. Robert L. Harrison, PhD - Break the Cycle

Praise The Lord. First and foremost giving praise glory and honor to my lord and savior Jesus Christ who is the head in my life.

I want to start out by saying what a privilege it is to be speaking to you today. When it was first suggested that I write a column, I wasn’t sure which path to take but through much prayer the Lord gave me the answer.

The heading “Breaking the Cycle” sums up a 20 plus year observational experience I have encountered being a resident of this potentially incredible city.

Unfortunately, the potential hasn’t had the opportunities afforded by many south side areas.

Most of us who have been a part of south St. Pete over the past 20 or more years have seen so much and so many come and go and yet our communities, neighborhoods, businesses and most important, our kids haven’t bettered. To the contrary it’s gotten progressively worse.

Having been a pastor, trainer and coach not to mention husband and father, I’ve been exposed exponentially in multiple arenas throughout this city and sad to say I’ve seen and been victim to the good, bad and the ugly.

Time after time I sit and listen to countless others who were born and raised in the “Burg” and the overwhelming consensus seems apparently clear: everyone feels that there are far too many “crabs” exercising their self-preservation skills.

I saw this and what it will ultimately lead to during my short stint in the army.

It was a major culture shock to me because I was a 12-year war vet in the Marines.

I came from the Marines with an aura of selfless service, commitment to excellence, dedication to duty, attention to detail.

To my surprise, I walked face first into the “I got mine the hard way so you gotta get yours the same way,”  “It’s not my responsibility,” and “band aid on a bullet wound” mindset.

I’m not knocking the army, it was just my experience. For the record, I received two Army Achievement medals, a Good Conduct medal and two Brigade coins.

You can’t win wars this way. And fellow saints, we are indeed in a war. Our kids are the overwhelming casualties and the numbers are steadily climbing.

In the Marines we were swarmed daily with an attack of verbal synergistic warfare designed to invoke a paradigm shift of mind, body and spirit.

This warfare is not the “norm” in the civilian world and because of the absence of these traits in abundance; we can clearly see the end results.

Sad to say even some that were military trained have backslid or as we say they have lost their military bearing.

In the coming articles, I will attempt to convey these traits in a manner that will expose the attack Satan has played on our society, neighborhoods, schools and homes, and how we have fallen hook, line and sinker.

You cannot defeat an enemy unless you have key information like foreknowledge, strategic knowledge (method/discipline), mission/purpose, leadership and moral influence (lawless or principled).

I truly believe one major reason for the steady decline is we have lost our God consciousness.  We have forgotten what fearing God and having a reverence for Him can produce.  Also, some don’t believe God means what He says.  He is too loving a God to execute His wrath on sin.  The lyrics in a gospel songs says “I’m glad I serve the God of another chance,” but we think that those chances are infinite.

Rom 1: 28 talks of this.

Some are so quick to label our kids hopeless and not worth it. Maybe not directly but indirectly due to the lack of sustainable effective programs designed to give them options that would produce successful responsible productive young adults.

Parents today are major culprits but aren’t willing to accept the responsibility that their kids are the result of their lack.  (Hosea 4:6) This is a hard statement but you can’t begin to correct the problem if you don’t impact the roots.  I use the lawnmower analogy: you can manicure your price-winning lawn weekly, perfect height, perfect edging, but if you don’t use the correct or proper fertilizer, you will get the exact same results.

More to come next week, so until then God bless.

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