Set Us Free
Today we’re going to go through the 5 movements of the Lord’s Prayer again (Premise, Priorities, Provision, Peacemaking and Protection), this time spending extra time on Peacemaking, particularly as it applies to racism and the horrific damage it’s done to our society and to the humanity of each of us. (Yes, including those of us who are white; many leaders toward reconciliation describe being part of a racist society as “moral trauma” for the white person, a scarring of the soul.)
What does it mean to seek forgiveness? What does it mean to truly forgive? Mull over the words below before you move into the Lord’s Prayer. (Though black Americans are explicitly named in the first passage, its message could include all people of color.)
“True forgiveness frees the offended from the bondage of bitterness and revenge. True repentance frees the offender from the bondage of pride, lack of empathy, and apathy. If White Christians truly felt the pain of black Americans, when times of cruelty, injustice and violence occur, immediate and contrived forgiveness rituals would never suffice....
Black Christians biblically forgive by viewing our legitimate hurts, frustrations, and anger through a redemptive lens that proclaims, “I will renounce my right to get revenge for all the ways that this present kingdom has broken my heart. I will also believe Jesus’ words that the kingdom of God is indeed at hand. This means that I will pray with my heart and work tirelessly with my hands and feet to see signposts of how the perfectly restored coming kingdom invades the broken, exploitative, and racist kingdom of this world.” (Darryl Ford, Forgiveness is Not Passivity, Repentance Project, 2017
The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. (The Message)
How do you sense God speaking to you as the offender and/or the offended? Bring this awareness into your praying as Jesus taught us:
Our Father in Heaven, holy is your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil,
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. AMEN.