By David Williams
I must confess that when I read the Bible I often speed read over who begat who. Once I confirm Jesus’ birth line I am ready to move forward. But to move forward so quickly is a mistake that undermines the importance of why we are given that information in the first place.
The same mistake is often made within the black community. Spend some time with the leaders or elders of the community and you will hear someone say, “You cannot know where you are going, without knowing from whence you came.” This is said so often that it has become a cliché. But if we were to take the time to really understand what the Bible is saying and what the elders are saying, it is really all about belonging, about fatherhood and about son. It is about the exchange of knowledge and how that comes from that father/son relationship.
There was a time when the trades of the father were the trades of the son. Children served their apprenticeship under their father’s direction. If dad was a blacksmith, candle maker, or ran a printing press then so was the son. As matter of fact, God chose Abraham because he knew he would raise his children properly. The role of a father and the stewardship of children isn’t something to be taken lightly.
I am of the opinion that the problems that exist in our society today are rooted in the fact that we have broken men who were wounded boys. We are asking blood out of turnips. If no one ever planted love, patience, kindness, faith, honor, and loyalty, how can we rightfully expect unplanted seeds to yield such a crop?
We have sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind. This is what happens when there is no one to teach you all the things that a dad should teach you. Void of fatherly directions, young boys are left to fend for themselves.
So when the streets, the gangs, and the drugs come calling, many youngsters lack the intestinal fortitude to remain strong. Why? Because some love is better than no love, and some direction – even bad – is better than no direction.
This is our generational curse. Individuals who have received limited guidance are suddenly parents in charged of a new baby. Babies having babies! If I was never properly fathered, never really a son, then how can I properly father?
My dad taught me how to iron, swim, catch, ride a bike, motorcycle, horse, and many other things. The lessons he didn’t teach were taught by uncles, coaches or grandfathers.
I have my father’s name and he has his father’s name and my son has my name. It gives me great pride knowing where I am from. The lessons I was taught and the manner in which they were taught help me to approach the challenges of life with confidence.
Every failure is a lesson and a chance of inward ex-amination, but the most important thing that came from all of this interaction is that the father/son relationship help prepare me for the spiritual Father/Son relationship with God.
It is not my intention to make excuses for the failures of wounded men or broken boys. No one has a monopoly on the hardships of life, and I am a firm believer that you make your decisions and your decisions make you. But I do believe that we must be wise like Jesus when dealing with these individuals.
When He spoke to the Samaritan woman, Jesus spoke to her about thirst and her need for water and forever changed the course of her life. If we can meet them at their needs, then perhaps we can get them to “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and find rest for their souls.”
Until that happens, black history is of little importance because the present is so overwhelming.