Last summer, I discovered I had a brother. His name is Larry. He visited for Thanksgiving and I adore him.
In discovering my brother, I also discovered some unpleasant facts about my dad. As the details unfolded, I was angry with my dad. I was disappointed in him. I felt shame.
After some serious time in prayer and with the Holy Spirit, I came to three revelations:
1. I do not bear any quilt or shame from my Father’s wrong doing.
2. My father’s flaws does not negate his legacy.
3. The generational habits of my father, ended with him.
I’m sharing my struggle this morning to perhaps help my Caucasian brothers and sisters. I know diving into this country’s history of race can be unpleasant. I know as you watch movies like Just Mercy or see YouTube videos like a Holy Post, it can be uncomfortable. To think your ancestors were at best silent and at worse complicit, in the racist practices of this country, can cause you to want to disengage in conversation. I get it. That is how I felt last summer.
It may feel as we talk about this country’s problem with systematic racism, we are maligning people you loved and admired. It’s uncomfortable. I understand. But what the Holy Spirit gave me last summer, I give to you:
1. You do not bear the shame and guilt of your ancestors action.
2. Acknowledging your ancestors flaws, does not negate their legacy. It does not diminish your memories of them. It can not erase the positive contributions they may have made in the community and in your life.
3. The silent and/or complicit racist actions of your parents ends with you. Make a quality decision to teach your children well. Make sure your child has a diverse friend group. Be honest with your children about your family’s past history of racism. Teach them to love and respect their ancestors while understanding racism is wrong.
My friends, if we could let go of guilt and shame, acknowledge past misdeeds of our ancestors while looking toward an anti-racist future, maybe we will all discover brothers and sisters of different hues that we adore.
“Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”
Psalm 34:5 ESV