It was another hot and humid day here, in the south. I took my son to a local park and as we walked through it, an older man approached us. “Excuse me,” he said “but are you guys Southerners?” After a brief hesitation, I affirmed that we were. He then asked “What do you think of the local news and the taking down of the South Carolina confederate flag?” He smirked a little as he said, “I’m a Yankee.” He shrugged; his next words unsaid: so this doesn’t really apply to me. I honestly was not prepared to answer the question. I mumbled something and slipped away. His question though-and his smirk-stayed with me. I have more questions, now.
How can we honestly say that because of our geographical location–something so vast and evil as slavery does not apply to us? How can we so easily shift blame to another group and shrug as we back away? How can we even think that something as simple as removing a flag can cure ‘a multitude of sins?’ In fact, its frankly insulting to think that anything can pay for a life enslaved. I give the example of a rape victim. Although the perpetrator may be caught and maybe even executed, his crime will still live on-in his victim. Of the violation of another’s body and soul-there is nothing that can atone for it. Our hearts will never tell us ‘it is enough.’ Our hearts will always howl for ‘more’…always more. Until we all realize this truth, I don’t believe anyone can move forward. What is needed? Redemption.
We, as humans, are ALL enslaved to sin. Every race, every person has not chosen God. He chose us. Without Him, we are doomed to repeat and follow our forefathers’ paths through history. The history of every race at some point has or is enduring agonizing suffering, grave injustices and slavery by other humans. How can this cycle of sin be overcome? By forgiveness.
Our redemption and forgiveness only come from One Person. Jesus. He paid the price that we cannot pay. He offers us true freedom from sin. (We cannot purchase this freedom with money, well-meant apologies or with good works.)
“In Whom we have forgiveness, even the redemption of sins.” (Colossians 1:14)
Until our heart is changed by His mercy, we cannot offer mercy to our fellow brothers. Until our soul is cleansed with His blood, we have guilt that will not go away. Until we accept His forgiveness, we cannot forgive others their trespasses.
In the words of Dr. Ravi Zacharias: “Until you and I receive the Son [that] God has provided, we’ll be offering our own sons and daughters on the battlefields of this world for many of the wrong reasons.”
Jesus has already won the war over sin and death. Let Him also win the battle for our desperate hearts. Let us let Him heal our pain. Let us turn to Him, Who never turns away.
“But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings…” (Malachi 4:2)
Further reading: Isaiah 53:5, I Peter 2:24, I Peter 5:10