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The Cost of Reconciliation

I like to think of myself as a bridge.

I am a Black man raised by a Black man and woman in the Low-Country of South Carolina. Stark cultural differences permeated my classroom as a youth and similar differences showed up in my family. As a household, we were privileged financially with two incomes. That was not the norm in my family. As an honors student, I was privileged to learn from teachers used to performing students and few behavioral problems. That was not the norm in my school. I came from and was surrounded by norms, many of which I could not speak to personally, but I knew intimately.

What I gained was amazing perspective. I could understand the experience of someone while also understanding the experience of one unaware such realities exists.

I became a bridge, but at great cost.

Developmentally, my personhood became more focused on being able to blend in any environment, than any form of authenticity. I became “all things to all people,” without ever defining my person.

I lost the gift of self-discovery.

In such a divided world, I hurt and ache at the sight and reality of division. I cringe when on my twitter feed there exists #BlackLivesMatter, oozing from the pains of racial reality, and #AllLiveMatter, wishing everyone could just play by the rules they’ve chosen to live by, unaware those rules weren’t crafted for everyone.

It’s like we’re all screaming at the top of our lungs “HEAR ME,” and no one is listening.

So here I exist, in the middle of the bridge holding the rope wrapped around the stake of polar East and polar West, saying what sounds like “can’t we all just get along,” but what really is “we have so much in common if we just stop for a second and talk.”

Those ropes are wrapped around both arms. Outstretched, beginning to burn from the tension and rubbing. The one who is the bridge, holding all the weight of the two forces of tension.

Let go.

The cost of reconciliation is the temptation to be comfortable to all people; to provide comfort to all people.

That, in fact, is not reconciliation, but puppetry at best. Reconciliation happens when your true voice is heard from someone distanced by repeated familiar words, but trusting of your personhood.

Reconciliation should not mute you. Rather, true reconciliation requires your honest voice, unafraid of losing people, but trusting in God’s ability to step into truth and pierce hearts.

Go ye therefore and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, realizing that if we experience pain as a cost of reconciliation, we have the ultimate example of one who suffered to show us the gift of true reconciliation as He ascends.

Trust. Love. Live. Be.

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