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By Minister Louis Farrakhan, Editor’s Note: The following text is excerpted from Minister Farrakhan’s historic message delivered October 16, 1995 during the Million Man March

The day of atonement is established by God to help us achieve a closer tie with the source of wisdom, knowledge, understanding and power. For it is only through a closer union or tie with Him who created us all, with Him who has power over all things that we can draw power, knowledge, wisdom and understanding from Him, that we may be enabled to change the realities of our life. A perfect union with God is the idea at the base of atonement.

Atonement demands of us eight steps. In fact, atonement is the fifth step in an eight stage process. But the first stage is the most difficult of all because when we are wrong and we are not aware of it, someone has to point out the wrong. The most difficult thing is, when somebody points it out, do we accept it? Do we reject it? Do we hate the person who pointed out our wrong? How do we treat the person who points out our wrong?

Whoever is entrusted with the task of pointing out wrong, depending on the nature of the circumstances, is not always loved. In fact, more than likely, that person is going to be hated and misunderstood. Such persons are generally hated because no one wants to be shown as being wrong, particularly when you’re dealing with governments, with principalities, with powers, with rulers, with administrations. When you’re dealing with forces which have become entrenched in their evil, intractable and unyielding in their power, it produces an arrogance that produces a blindness. Out of that evil state of mind they will do all manner of evil to the person who points out their wrong, even though you’re doing good for them by pointing out where America went wrong.

Martin Luther King Jr. was probably one of the most patriotic Americans. He was more patriotic than George Washington, more patriotic than Thomas Jefferson, more patriotic than many of the presidents, because he had the courage to point out what was wrong in the society. And because he pointed out what was wrong, he was evil spoken of, vilified, maligned, hated and eventually murdered. Brother Malcolm had that same road to travel. He pointed out what was wrong in the society and he had to suffer for pointing out what was wrong, and he ultimately died on the altar for pointing out what was wrong inside the nation.

Well, pointing out fault, pointing out our wrong is the first step. The second step is to acknowledge. To acknowledge means to admit the existence, the reality or the truth of some reality. It is to recognize as being valid or having force and power. It is to express thanks, appreciation or gratitude. So in this context, the word acknowledgment means to be in a state of recognition of the truth of the fact that we have been wrong.

The third step is that, after you know you’re wrong and you acknowledge it to yourself, who else knows it except that you confess it? The Bible says confession is good for the soul. To free the soul, or the essence of man, from its burden, one must acknowledge one’s wrong, but then one must confess. The Holy Qur’an says it like this: “I have been greatly unjust to myself and confess my faults. So grant me protection against all my faults for none grants protection against faults but Thee.” It is only through confession that we can be granted protection from the consequences of our faults, for every deed has a consequence and we can never be granted protection against the faults that we refuse to acknowledge or that we are unwilling to confess. So, who should you confess to? First, you confess to God. Every one of us that are here today that know that we have done wrong, we have to go to God and speak to Him in the privacy of our rooms and confess. He already knows, but when you confess you’re relieving your soul of the burden that it bears.

Dive into the full message A Celebration of the Million Man March

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