It is easy for those us far removed from brutality and riots who live in self-imposed rural isolation to imagine that none of this has anything to do with us. But it does. It has to do with me.
I must face my prejudices: the prejudices I tell myself I don’t have, the prejudices that color the way I look at black people, obese people, angry people, liberal people and all kinds of people who have the audacity to be someone who is not like me. Because, after all, I am right. Didn’t you know that?
All my life I have modeled my life after Jesus Christ, who doesn’t have one prejudiced thought and who loves every person unconditionally. I love him deeply because he laid aside heaven to become a person—a poor, minority person—and willingly gave his life to redeem me from sin, not the least of which are my prejudices against other people. How can I, then, having been completely and irrevocably forgiven, persist in thinking that I am better than another person. Doesn’t the Bible say, “…the Scriptures say, No one is good—no one in all the world is innocent” (Romans 3:10).
Because I think I’m right. And that means I’m better.
This kind of thinking creates slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, Nazism, fascism, and the Inquisition. This kind of thinking divides churches, societies, and nations. This kind of thinking starts wars that drive millions into refugee camps and birth worldwide chaos. This kind of thinking creates the haves and the have nots.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I have witnessed tragedies in the church: anger, division, shunning, and ridicule. What causes this? People like me who know “I’m right.” We even use Scripture to defend our mistreatment of others. God forgive us.
I have knelt before God in the past weeks and asked him to forgive me for thinking that I’m right. Because I’m not right. Only God is right. “The most important [commandment],” answered Jesus, “is this…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).
“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” (1 John 4:20).
God forgives me.
And now I’m asking you to forgive me.