Commentary: United States: a nation wrestling with open wounds

Commentary:  United States: a nation wrestling with open wounds
June 26
00:00 2015

In photo above: Derwin L. Montgomery (Photo by Erin Mizelle for the Winston-Salem Chronicle)

By Derwin L. Montgomery

Earlier this year, I preached a sermon series titled, “Wrestling With Open Wounds”. The premise of the series was to convey that all of us have injuries that have often been neglected and left untreated. Whether it was the wound of a broken home, a broken heart, or even wrestling with depression or the trauma of rape, we all have wounds. I admonished the congregation to realize that before healing from any wound, it was first necessary to acknowledge that they were in fact wounded. Failing to acknowledge these injuries will delay the healing process. Have you ever gone to the emergency room and told the nurse I am here, because everything is OK?

Today we look at this Nation, a great nation in many aspects — a worldwide political force with great military power and a leader in the world economy — but in spite of its strengths, we are a wounded nation.

Our past and our present have wounded us. And over time, these wounds have been left open and untreated. When wounds are left open, they are subject to infection, and become much more difficult to treat. The only way a person like Dylann Roof could commit such a heinous attack against humanity is because he saw no value in the lives of those he murdered. The lives of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the Rev. Sharonda Singleton, Myra Thompson, Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lee Lance, Cynthia Hurd, the Rev. Daniel L. Simmons Sr., the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor and Susie Jackson. His actions are an expression of this Nation’s infected wounds. This is why people feel the need to remind the Nation and the world that Black lives do matter.
As an African-American pastor and an elected official, this could have happened to my congregation, my colleagues, my father or my friends.

This act of domestic terrorism serves as an example of what can happen when we refuse to treat our wounds. We must acknowledge as a nation, and as a people that while we are indeed injured from our past, we must not persistently move forward and accept our calamities as our future.
This hate is a reminder of the now puss-filled wound, self-inflicted by a group of people within our nation who have historically dictated whose lives would be valued. This practice was internalized, stitched into the fabric of our day-to-day existence, and built on the backs of the marginalized. So when faced with acts of malice to an unfathomable degree, what would lead anyone to believe, 150 years later, a nation would be fully healed from such a sickness?

Still today some are taught that they have privilege, because of the color of their skin. It is here where the wound grows deeper. When individuals witness members of their beloved community recklessly gunned down by some law enforcement officers, that wound grows deeper. When people of color face a criminal justice system that seems to be built for their entrapment rather than support, the wound grows deeper.

My prayer is that we do not use this moment to push political agendas that only treat our wound on the surface. Yes, there is a need to address issues of gun violence, and yes, churches may need to implement security ministries to make sure their parishioners are safe, but this does not treat the primary wound of internalized hate. We must commit ourselves to reconcile our hearts and face the truth: that we are injured and must begin intensive treatment of our wounds. This is the only way we will extricate the infectious hate that has grown in our open wounds.

It is a true statement that “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.” Likewise, “hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Derwin L. Montgomery is a Winston-Salem council member who represents the East Ward and is pastor of First Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors