It is time to lament and repent, church. We have inherited a nation founded in violence, sustained by violence, entertained by violence, and, if we don’t change our ways, one that will die a self-destructive death in violence.

I know you didn’t show up on the Mayflower and lay claim to land that wasn’t yours to claim. I know you didn’t execute the rightful holders of that land or chase them across the country until they were scattered, exhausted, or dead. I know you didn’t kidnap people in Africa and force them to build your empire. I know you’re not the economic bully that pillaged the natural resources of lands far and near, or pummeled them with bombs so that the people from there had no choice but to flee if they wanted to thrive.

I know you didn’t do any of that stuff and neither did I. But we are all living in the world created by those actions. If you’re like me, a white, middle-aged, American man, that’s a world of relative opportunity and ease and benefit. But, at least right now, it’s at the expense of everyone who is different. It doesn’t have to be.

The question for us is not whether we committed all the evil that led us here. No, the question for us is whether we’re going to pass it all on to those coming after us? I am not. A wise friend once said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” (Luke 12:48 NASB) So I’ll use what I’ve been given, my voice, my education, my income, my privilege, to do everything I can to keep from propagating this evil forward. I’m inviting you to join me.

Let’s confess all of this evil for what it is: corporate sin. Let’s listen to those who have been the victims of this sin and join with them in lamenting the pain, destruction, and death it brought to them. Let’s repent by changing our individual and collective attitudes and behavior toward those who are different from us.

Jesus said he came to:

Bring good news to the poor,
Proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free the oppressed,
To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

If we’re following Jesus, that’s what we’ll be about, too.

It’s time to lament and repent, church.