“So keep coming to him who is the Living Stone—though he was rejected and discarded by men but chosen by God and is priceless in God’s sight. Come and be his “living stones”who are continually being assembled into a sanctuary for God. For now you serve as holy priests, offering up spiritual sacrifices that he readily accepts through Jesus Christ. – psalm 133:1.
The church participated in the sin of slavery and thus contributed to the generational effects of prejudice, segregation, and violence. But acknowledging the wrongs of the past is only the first step toward genuine repentance, reconciliation, and healing. As individual Christians and as the church, we should try to address the racial wrongs that continue today and to lift up and be guided by those who are most in need, who are impacted by racial injustice and racial prejudice.
Once we have acknowledged what happened to the best of our ability, we must consider our attitudes and actions. Search your heart and soul to see where there might be prejudice, discriminatory feelings, or even racist behavior. Ask yourself where it’s implicit. Where is it explicit? What do you need to let go of? We must attempt to be as honest with ourselves as much as possible and repent of any sin that we discover. Briefly defined, repentance is turning away from sin and self and looking to God for forgiveness and salvation. One example in the Bible is the story of Zacchaeus in Luke, chapter 19.
For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
There is a difference between regret and repentance. A deep rift in a marriage isn’t solved by buying flowers. As kind a gesture as that is, what needs to happen is change. Regret buys flowers. Repentance confesses and seeks to change. Regret says “I’m sorry.” Repentance risks being hurt by saying, “please forgive me.” 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.”
Repentance carries with it the idea of changing; changing your mind, changing your attitude, changing your ways. It’s not a fickle change of mind, but rather a transformation of outlook, an entirely new way of seeing things. It is a change of direction. We turn around. When we find the sin of racism in any way, we go in the opposite direction, like Zacchaeus.
- How do you know if repentance is real? What does genuine repentance look like?
- What can you do this week to take up a posture of faith and genuine repentance?