"The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable." - James Garfield
James Garfield was a civil rights activist in his time, but according to biographers, he originally believed the Bible justified slavery. But leading up to and after his service to the Union in the civil war Garfield said in one of his many letters, “I feel like throwing the whole current of my life into opposing this giant evil [slavery]."
Garfield went on, in his few short months as president, to do just that -- by fighting growing southern forces attempting to take newly given rights from African Americans. He also appointed four African Americans to posts in his administration.
The truth about slavery set Garfield free, and he believed it set the American people free as well. As he said of the Constitutional Amendment giving former slaves the rights of white citizens of the time, “It has freed us from the perpetual danger of war and dissolution. It has added immensely to the moral and industrial forces of our people. It has liberated the master as well as the slave from a relation which wronged and enfeebled both.”
But, the truth did not make life easy for Garfield. Did it make him miserable? Perhaps. We know it took his life.
So what is it in our personal lives that we may need to learn, to see, in order to find freedom? And why would this make us miserable? Isn’t liberation a freeing and happy experience?
Consider these examples:
The freedom from facing these issues will be palpable, but first addressing the issues at hand WILL make you miserable. An unpleasant confrontation with a loved one, a huge shift in lifestyle to pay off debts, and soul searching acknowledgment of unneeded things will, in fact, be a difficult process. The truth behind these problems is painful. But after addressing them, you will be set free. Free from a toxic relationship, crippling debt or a mountain of stuff that chains you to your materialism.
Look around and you will see that many people must believe it is not worth it. What do you think? Can you face the difficult truths of your life? Is the misery worth the freedom?
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