Dark and dirty deeds plague every civilization in history. Next time someone proves that your past—and your culture’s past—is unjust, remind him that the same is true of him and everyone else. Proving the dirty deeds of our ancestors only proves that our ancestors were human.
There are two religions in the world, only two. There are many ways to define these—lifting and leaning, forgiveness and revenge, light and darkness, fairness and apathy. But, in terms of dark and dirty deeds of history, those same two religions are seen as the one which recognizes that God had a greater plan for good at work all along and those who want the complaint of evil to have either the last word or no word at all.
Moving past the past requires that we acknowledge that past. People who don’t understand the dual presence of both powerful evil and an even more powerful good will only talk about the evil or the good, never both. When one can’t forgive and love enemies, one will pretend to agree with everyone. But, Universalism only masks hatred. When the “all dogs go to Heaven” preacher encounters someone who says that all dogs do not go to Heaven, that preacher will suddenly turn angry because he never learned to love, only to hide his hatred.
Acknowledging the past doesn’t mean staying stuck in it. We know that dark and dirty deeds have plagued Earth from the time Adam and Eve walked in the garden. Heinous crimes have been committed since, the most heinous of which we will fortunately never know. Admit these, acknowledge these, recognize these; then move on to the good part.
While old aristocrats prepared to sell slaves in the American colonies after the Pilgrims’ arrival, God had already sent bad weather to force the Bible bearing Pilgrims into unplanned colonies in the north. They never knew that their own hardship had a purpose. Those Pilgrims didn’t land on Plymouth Rock; Plymouth Rock landed on the chains of slavery two centuries later, thereby smashing many chains, and the ripple continues today.
While devils were at work in one place, God was already at work in another.