Truth Telling as Healing
Dear Kaleid Ladies,
Good morning. We come to you in humility and gratitude today. Gratitude to walk along the path of life, even virtually, with you. Humility because we recognize that all is grace, including the chance to consider hard things together--in communities.
Communities are complex things. They are fragile things. They are beautiful things. They are powerful things. Over the last week, we have seen our wider community exposed as vulnerable and hurting as we have processed the reality of Ahmaud Arbery’s death. We acknowledge on this day, as a team at Kaleid, that we see the broken and that we want to participate in the healing. Further, I imagine that we are all asking what our specific participation looks like, in our homes and in our churches and in our neighborhoods. We hold the hope that together, if we each ask God for our own next step, we can participate as agents healing in our world, even as we are ourselves healed of our brokenness.
In our current series, we are “seeing the other” (one of our Kaleid lenses) by studying four practices of community from a book by Christine Pohl. They are: gratitude, promise keeping, truth telling, and hospitality. This week, truth telling is a powerful vantage point from which to examine the particular issue of racial injustice.
Truth telling begins in grounding ourselves in the “transforming experience of God’s steadfast love” (Pohl,111) so that our hearts are strong to receive truth and to offer truth.
Truth telling is treating other people as expressions of God’s life in the world, because they are.
Truth telling is cultivating a posture of understanding toward the “other” and using our voice to tell the truth about what we’ve come to learn.
Truth telling is telling ourselves and each other the truth about our histories, both corporate and personal, so that we can grieve, and so that we can repent, and so that we can heal.
Truth telling is telling ourselves and each other the truth about God’s redemptive work in the world and throwing the weight of our action behind our beliefs.
Theologian Miraslov Volf speaks of how those who are oppressed in society are tied to remembering injustice because of the pain they experienced and how those who are oppressors in society are tied to forgetting injustice because of the pain of guilt. Only at the cross does Jesus resolve this issue, paying the price for the oppressor’s violence and standing in loving solidarity with the pain of the oppressed. There, the oppressed receive a new identity based in love and redemptive hope that allows for them to be whole, even in their wounds. There, the oppressors receive grace that allows for them to carry the important work of repair, even in their guilt. And then, reconciliation can begin. At the cross, truth can be told and healing can take place.
May we be women who are willing to go there, together.
Practice #1 - Truth and Love
Consider this passage from Ephesians 4:14-16 out of The Message. Read it a few times, slowly, and as the Holy Spirit to reveal a word about growth, truth, love, Christ, and community as you read. Record what you hear and savor the message today.
“No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.”
Practice #2 - The Past and Truth
Sit quietly and ask God to illuminate parts of your own past where you have been oppressed. Where did you receive wounds because of others’ unjust power? Are there places in your past where you have acted as an oppressor, turning your power toward others without regard for their worth? In either case, ask God to re-tell you your story in light of the cross of Jesus. Ask God to tell you the truth about your life: past, present, and future in light of the story of the One who holds all things together.
Practice #3 - God and the Other
What are you curious about when it comes to race or injustice or systems that perpetuate current problems? Make a list of your questions--unedited--and bring them to God with an open heart. Ask God to lead you to a place of deeper understanding and truth. As you move through the day, be on the lookout for resources, people, or experiences that could connect you with the truth about some of the things you’re wrestling to understand or see more clearly.
The Kaleid Team
P.S. - For an interesting understanding of our interconnectedness in community, watch this TED Talk.