While the Washington Post reports that there is a surge in hate graffiti in my area and video of the confession of Dylann Roof, accused murderer of nine members of Mother Emanuel AME Church in 2015, has been released to the public, I am praying that more stories like the ones emerging from the protest of the North Dakota pipeline are on the rise. Below is proof that if we could all learn the language of apology, then we could talk reconciliation.
There is power in truth- telling, in stepping forward and raising our hands to say, “I did it.” There is courage in the acknowledgement of fault and seeking accountability for wrong- doing. It takes a strong person to say, “I have wronged you.”
Anyone can stand to take the credit but there are few who will step from the shadows and break the silence to take the blame.
More than a personal reflection, it is a survey of one’s character that reports all of our findings: “I have lied to you, tricked you, hurt and harassed you, oppressed you, stolen from you, cheated you, murdered you.” No shuffling of feet, no blame- shifting but an eye- to- eye confession, we are not ashamed to show our faces and we look into the faces of those we have done harm.
Not a deathbed confession, our reputation will suffer. We cannot close our eyes to see death, comforting in knowing that we will never have to face it again. This is not for those who just need to get it off their chest. Reconciliation is compelled by love.
Recently, military veterans went to Standing Rock to apologize and to ask for their forgiveness. “We’ve hurt you in so many ways. We’ve come to say we’re sorry.”