Baltimore: What Our Words Really Mean

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

“Cultural competency training.”‎ “Treat people like you want to be treated. ” “Civility.” “#BlackLivesMatter.” “Inequality.” “Injustice.” “Bad apples.” “Accountability.” “Added protections.” “Depraved-heart murder.”

These are some of the words and phrases that emerged from last week’s conversations surrounding the volatile and tragic Baltimore riots. The unjustified death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray while in Baltimore police custody surfaced familiar feelings of anger among Blacks and others. Another Black man was dead at the hands of police and it was uncertain if anyone would be held accountable, as seen in other cases across the country.


To the aforementioned familiar terms introduced in this piece…here’s what those words really mean— and their potential to drive the desired community, national and global outcomes we seek:

God’s love. Man and woman He created in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). Fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), God fashioned each of us. Create in me a clean, pure heart and renew a right spirit within me  (Psalm 51:10). Help me to extend to others faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, joy, kindness, love, patience, peace and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Let me seek another’s highest good. To love one another as Christ loves us. (John 13:34). Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6), and more…


Are we naive to believe that society’s morality will progress if not for a heart transformed by Christ Jesus? If this transformation doesn’t occur within each person, then we will continue to battle injustices as there will have been no transformation of the heart. Those unchanged will audaciously and ignorantly operate in their own version of “truth” thinking their version is superior to The Truth, God’s Truth.

Baltimore riots April 2015 woman faces police

Baltimore riots April 2015 raise the race conversationLofty hopes of new laws, programs and trainings will fail as some people hold onto their self-interests rather than invite Christ to be the Captain of their lives; their Lord and Savior, the resident and president of their lives. So long as humans subscribe to their wills and not the will of God, injustices (whether or not intentional, driven by self-interests and self-centeredness) will persist.


As someone who hopes for the hearts of mankind to change, it is not my desire to be a “Debbie downer.” I am simply sober about the realities many fear to acknowledge, even though the patterns repeat and intensify with every generation. Rather than push for another program to be created, pray for hearts to be transformed by Christ Jesus.


Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here. 


6 thoughts on “Baltimore: What Our Words Really Mean

  1. Amen! good word Nicole, we truly need a revival!!

  2. These are the sentiments that I’ve spoken many times over the last decade. The only words I can say…AMEN!!!

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