Faith Matters " Forgiveness: We still have work to do
February 19, 2009
Many races of people have made their own unique contribution to the building of America. For this reason, I am humbled and often reflect on the enormity of having a month set aside to recognize the contributions of African Americans. More and more each year I choose to focus on the significance of our presence here, rather than our contributions. When we speak of struggle and hardships, I am all too aware of injustices suffered by men of all races at the hands of their fellow Americans.
For the African American, our struggle and hardship was slavery. In 2009 we are still wrestling with the effects of slavery here in America. Regardless of proclamations, speeches, or legislation, a spiritual process must be administered if we are to overcome the deep-seated negative consequences of slavery as a people and country.
The Emancipation Proclamation was an important step in drawing America closer to the realization of equality. Often, many point to it as being the turning point in ending slavery here in America. Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is still the standard we hold for achieving justice and equality here in America. The Civil Rights legislation of the ’60’s has opened doors for countless African Americans.
Clearly we have evolved past this tragedy in our history, right? The truth is that physical slavery is only a small part of the whole picture. A man can and will remain a slave or in bondage in his mind and his soul until a spiritual process has taken place to free him.
There is a two-step spiritual process to abolishing slavery:
1. The former slave must forgive the former slave master, and “cast those sins in a sea of forgetfulness”.
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2. The former slave master must ask for forgiveness from the former slave, and “sin no more.”
Let us be proud and grateful of our individual and collective progress in addressing the visible signs of slavery here in America. Let us continue the work of leaders such as Dr. King to offer further opportunities for all men. Let us join with our new president in building a better future for America.
Let us also remember that without offering true forgiveness and a sincere request for forgiveness, we cannot and will not enter the Promised Land. We cannot promote freedom, justice, and equality to the world until the heart and mind of America is truly free. Until we put to rest forever the possibility of treating others like the Negro slave, we stand the risk of history repeating itself.
A dear friend of mine, Dr. John M. Perkins of Mississippi, has said that we can heal our nation through a process of reconciliation, relocation, and redistribution. Of these three, reconciliation is the first step. So who’s ready to start walking?