I’ve been doing some reading on the response of the family members of the victims of the church shooting in Charleston to the shooter when he was brought into court for his bond hearing. The response of the family members was forgiveness, a response nearly unfathomable to me. I don’t know how they did so quickly what would have taken me decades. One of the articles I read was “Does White America Really Believe in Forgiveness?” by Adam Ericksen. I wanted to share the following two paragraphs:
White America needs to have our Saul moment. And I pray, in the wake of the terrorism in Charleston, that we are having it. The scales need to fall from our eyes so that we can clearly see the harm we have caused through the racist structures that permeate the United States. Like Paul, we need to hear those words from Jesus — “Why are you persecuting me?” Because when we continue to uphold racist structures in America, we are persecuting black people — and we continue to persecute Jesus who identifies with them.
The blessed forgiveness that was on display in Charleston is the same blessed forgiveness that was on display on the cross. If white America doesn’t allow that forgiveness to hold us accountable to the transformation of our lives and the racist structures of the United States, then we are mere hypocrites who don’t truly believe in the Gospel.
I intend to focus more on the personal mechanics of forgiveness in my sermon, but I encourage you to read the full article. White America is indeed in need of transformation, we must face not only the fact that racism is a problem, but that it is our problem.