I have spent most of this Black History Month focused on listening to and watching stories written for and about people who look like me. Storytelling is such a powerful medium. It’s how we come to know ancestors who died before we were born. It’s how we come to know ourselves. Ultimately, it’s how many of us come to know God.
An African proverb says that “Until the lions have their own historians, history will always glorify the hunter.” There are many different versions of this proverb, but the message is the same. The one who tells the story will make himself the hero. For far too long, we have let other people tell our stories. We have let other people be the heroes.
I have learned that this isn’t just a matter of historical accuracy, but an issue of stewardship. We cannot have well-rounded history filled with one-sided stories. Without well-rounded histories, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past that we refuse to discuss. The Bible says we overcome by the blood of the lamb AND by the word of our testimony. We need them both, and honestly you can’t have one without the other.
You need to tell your story. It might be helpful for someone else. You need to tell your own story, if for no other reason, than to save yourself.