“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples: and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8: 31-32)
In her book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson outlines how the Nazis admired and studied the United States’ near genocide of Native Americans and the use of lynching to terrorize and keep African Americans subdued. Thus, America served as a model for the kind of “racial purification” to which the Nazie aspired.
Reading Debby Irving’s book, Waking U White, I learned how Black veterans of World War II were largely excluded from the benefits of the GI Bill. Though they were technically eligible, our nation’s systems of higher education, housing, and finance in the 1940s and ’50s made it nearly impossible for Black veterans to access the free college tuition and guaranteed home loans that gave White veterans and their families a huge socio-economic boost. White families still enjoy the benefits of inherited wealth spurred by this economic boost.
Some of the racial history I have learned in the past few years-history I was not taught in school-has shaken me to the core. I struggle to hold this knowledge of such monstrous and unjust acts. The truth hurts. But dishonorable history threatens to repeat itself if we cannot face it honestly. The first step towards freeing ourselves from the sins of our past is truthful acknowledgement.
Examine: What history would you rather not face? What past sins haunt you? Sit with the emotions that arise as you honestly consider this history. Breathe. Free yourself for your future by acknowledging the truth of the past.
Imagine: Imagine yourself reading a big book of your life. As you flip through the pages, allow yourself to remember and recall scenes from your past. Towards the end of the book you come to a number of blank pages. Visualize what future story you want written there.
Pray: Free me from dishonesty, O God, so I can live with truth.