- July 22, 2018
- Tatum Fishel
As kids, we learn the importance of saying “I’m sorry”. As adults, most of us have forgotten the value of it. I was recently with a friend who recounted an interaction with a “Christian” family whose child had made a poor choice. Rather than being truly repentant, the family chose to coarsely say to my friends, “we’ll pray for you”. Not only did this interaction not heal the brokenness that happened, it drove the receiver of the comment inward and away from true reconciliation.
It gripped me. So much so, that I grabbed her shoulders, with tears in both of our eyes, and said, “I’d like to apologize on behalf of my Jesus.”
I realize I wasn’t the offender in this scenario. I didn’t say the words or do the thing that cause the damage. But I feel the burden of the unrepentance of society. And I feel the ripple effect of the brokenness to relationship that unrepentance can cause.
This situation speaks to a bigger issue – the hardness of hearts that think we have nothing to repent for. It speaks to the idea that we can do no wrong. That we will never say a crass word or do something that hurts another person. And since sin entered the world, we’ve done a pretty poor job of being perfect, which means we need the act of repentance. The continuance to isolate people in society who look different, act differently, or make different choices is a real mar on Christianity today.
And I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that we’ve forgotten that it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).
I’m sorry we treated you like the things you’ve done, rather than the person you are.
I’m sorry that we closed our church doors to you and sat in the same pew every week when all you wanted was an invitation to community.
I’m sorry we kept talking when all you wanted was someone who listened.
I’m sorry we pretended to be all the adjective forms of Christian and forgot that the word is a noun.
I’m sorry that on the sidelines and in the grocery store line we chose “I’ll pray for you” and never actually did.
I’m sorry that pride made us believe we are better than you, when all you asked for was to be heard.
I’m sorry men abused their power and women slammed the door to relationship shut in your face.
I’m sorry that we make Jesus too small and pretend his sacrifice can’t cover all sins.
I’m sorry we stood across the street and shouted obscenities when you wanted someone to lock arms with you, look you in the eye, and hear your story.
I’m sorry we locked our doors and shut our windows rather than invited you into the kitchen.
I’m sorry that our pride gets in the way of us hitting our knees in true repentance.
I don’t know how to walk 21st century America out much more than you do.
But I know an apology is a good first step.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, according to your steadfast love” (Psalm 51:1).