Erasing History is Not the Way to a Better Future – The Quintessential Leader Perspective

Posted: June 22, 2020 in General Things about Quintessential Leadership, Quintessential Leadership
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A-white-mob-attempts-to-abduct-a-black-man-Red-Summer-1919Black lives matter. The history of black slavery, oppression, injustice, and murder for a very long time is an abomination, then and now. Period.

Anyone who denies that, doesn’t believe that, or thinks that’s okay, is both a liar and a murderer (hate, as Jesus says in Matthew 5, is the same thing as murder). If you call yourself a Christian and you fall into this way of thinking, then you are actively breaking two of the Ten Commandments. You are guilty of not loving your brother as yourself (the last five Commandments).

Jesus Christ is The Quintessential Leader. If we claim to follow Him, but our behavior is diametrically opposite to His, then we are not quintessential leaders. We are also not Christians, because our behavior is not like Christ’s. Take the time to read and think about I John.

For all the so-called Christians who have not only participated in the outrages described above against black people in the past and the present, but who also ardently condemn black outrage about how they have been treated, there is a serious heart problem that needs to be changed and corrected.

And that’s part of what this article is about: to identify the real changes needed to ensure that black lives matter and to explain why destroying history will not bring about the changes that are needed to make sure all people of color are treated fairly, justly, and equitably.

This blog was designed to identify what behavior, thinking, and being defines quintessential leadership and what behavior, thinking, and being does not. Although these principles are based on the example of Jesus Christ and the word of God, I seldom preach, “Thus sayeth the Lord…”

However, this matter before us is important enough that today I will make an exception.

Racism, prejudice, and bias are heart issues. Solomon says in Proverbs 4:23 (in the middle of a discourse about seeking God’s wisdom), “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Doing superficial things to address heart issues does not change anything.

Read that sentence again.

If you’re a Christian, you should be reading the word of God (if you’re not and you’re just reading – or believing – what other people, who are flawed, just like you – and I – are, then you’re already off the path of life and you’re going through the broad way instead of the narrow gate).

The Bible is history. From it we are able to glean the way of God and the way of Satan, because those are the only two paths humans have to choose from. If we’re not going God’s way (and there are many historical accounts of this throughout the Bible), then we’re going Satan’s way.

We all go Satan’s way at moments in our lives. But we should have the discernment, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to recognize it, stop, and turn back to God’s way.

Some people who claim to follow Jesus Christ, it seems, don’t actually have the word of God implanted in them. They read it (maybe), but it doesn’t change who they are and how they behave.

History, therefore, is important. Without history, we have no context. In fact, without human history, we have no framework of what we’ve done wrong – and why – and what we’ve done right – and why.

Destroying history is erasing the deep wellspring from which we can learn many lessons. It is also the mirror into which we can look and compare our thinking, our behavior, and our words.

When we erase history, we erase ourselves and we erase the opportunity to learn.

Human history is ugly. You and I are ugly sometimes. In what we think, in our motivations, in what we say, in what we do, in who we are.

History makes us see that because when we dig into history in all its ugliness, we often see a reflection of ourselves, in one form or another.

Seeing that reflection and being repulsed by it is what sparks change in each of us, deep inside our hearts. If we are repulsed by nothing, then there is no change that matters.

So, removing every offensive piece of history, as is currently being done with many things in the United States that are associated with its slave-holding past is foolish. It erases that history for us to learn from and for future generations to learn from.

And it doesn’t change anyone’s heart. The haters will still hate. The racists will still be racists. And people of color will still be treated unfairly, unjustly, inequitably, and murdered.

If the heart doesn’t change, nothing else will change. That’s the bottom line. That’s what quintessential leaders understand, and that is their live’s work. To change their hearts so that their hearts emulate the heart of The Quintessential Leader.

If we want to get up in arms about something, this should be what we get up in arms about. And this outrage about unfairness, injustice, inequity, and murder should first be turned inward toward ourselves. Because that’s where it starts.

This post will probably make people on both sides of this issue of racism, prejudice, and bias angry, because these very real issues have been so polarized that we no longer can think clearly, rationally, and critically about them.

(One example of this  is the Atlanta police officer who was fired for killing Rayshard Brooks.

What no one has said is that once Brooks had the police officer’s Taser, he became a threat to anyone he came into contact with, even if he was running away.

I don’t care who you are. Stop everything. Put your opinions and your outrage on hold. This is not an issue of race. It’s an issue of safety.

Imagine yourself in the police officer’s position. Imagine that you are having to make a split second decision about someone, black or white, who could potentially harm other people.

Would you have the time to deliberate about where to shoot him to merely stop him, with adrenaline pumping from fear of what might happen to other people next?

What would you have done given the same situation in a period of time when all you could do is react?)

If you’re angry, that’s fine. When you calm down, though, think about your own heart. Examine it in light of what you believe, what you say you believe, what you think, what motivates you, what you say, and who you are.

Examining ourselves at this level is extremely hard, because we’re going to see a lot of things we don’t like and that are wrong about who and what we are. But that’s what quintessential leaders do. We take stock of the inner person every day to see where we are quintessential leaders and where we are not quintessential leaders.

When we find those things deep inside of our hearts, our souls, our minds – indeed, our very beings – that are not qualities or traits of quintessential leadership, we admit them and we admit that we are wrong. And, then, with purposeful determination, we actively work to correct them.

This is an on-going process that never ends. It defines our very character, which overshadows our lives. All of us fall short of living up the standard of quintessential leadership.

However, that knowledge should motivate us to change.

But before we can be motivated to change from one way to another way, we must first – you and I – stop looking around at everyone else and decide we think we know where they are wrong and what they need to change.

Instead, each one of us needs to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, “How am I doing?”

  1. mepeep says:

    Very thought-provoking! You make a compelling argument. I agree that we should never erase history; I do, however, support the removal of Confederate monuments. At the very least, they should be removed from places of honor, put in a museum, and add the context. But I admire your candidness and forthright thoughts. We are in full agreement, however, on the fact that history should never be erased. If anything, the history textbooks we used as children, in the way they whitewashed the Civil War (when they mentioned it at all), were attempts to erase history.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mepeep says:

    Very thought-provoking! And while I do support the removal of Confederate monuments, I agree that history should never be erased. But most of these monuments were put up in the Jim Crow era, with no context and in defiance of equal rights. I think the monuments themselves are an attempt to erase
    (or whitewash) history, as were the textbooks I read as a child. Interesting post!


    • I understand where you are coming from and agree that the history we have been taught as Americans and as Southerners is slanted, biased, and, in many case, flat out wrong. I also agree that these monuments were put up in defiance of the Civil Rights movement.

      But, IMHO, that’s why they should remain…the truth of what happened during the Civil Rights movement to try to continue to enslave, oppress, and murder people of color, even by putting up these monuments, needs to be preserved for future generations to learn from (to know the truth), and to work to continue to change. First in themselves. Which, in time, will begin to spark change in others.

      We impact others most when we change ourselves and strive to model an example of the right kind of behavior. This is what “preaching the Gospel” is all about: individuals striving to become Christ-like and the fruits of those efforts positively impacting everyone their lives intersect with.

      Dr. King, in my book, is a great example of someone who strove to do this. He was not a perfect man (but none of us are), and he had his weaknesses, flaws, and sins (as we all do). But he believed the Word and the Word was implanted in him and he did his best to take that and live by it.


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