Making Change Requires Truth

May 18, 2016

“Better to get hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie,” is a quote credited to Khaled Hosseini, an Afghan-born American novelist and physician. There’s no doubt in my mind there is a lot of substance in that statement.

Over the last three years, I’ve been engaged in quite a bit of dialogue about racism from a communal, political, and faith-based perspective. What I’ve learned is people don’t want to have an honest, open dialogue because the truth hurts. It’s easier to live in the comfort of mistruths than to deal with the pain that will bring about change and reconciliation.

For example, Christopher Columbus Day is a national holiday celebrated every October. The truth is Christopher Columbus didn’t discover America; he was lost. The Italian-born mariner was a mass murderer of Native Americans and a “founding father” of the transatlantic slave trade, yet that story is not told in my children’s history books. As a nation, we have found comfort in a lie.

I recently had an encouraging conversation with a fellow pastor who is preparing for a three-month sabbatical. He will use this time for study and reflection before engaging the congregation on racism in America and the Christian church. The church leader understands that a truthful dialogue will be painful, and he wants to be prepared and informed.

We can’t say we’re interested in change if we’re not willing to endure the pain that comes with it. No pain, no gain.

I’m Joe Mitchell, and this is my perspective