Last week, a young black man; Brandt Jean; forgave the white woman who was convicted of killing his older brother. He asked the judge to allow him to give her a hug, and the whole world stood in shock.
It made me realize that clearly most of us Christians have misunderstood the reason Christ asked us to forgive those who sin against us. We are not asked to forgive sin for the sake of the one who sinned against us. We must forgive sin for our own sake! For our own salvation.
Brandt understands that perfectly. He said to CNN, “That’s what Christ would want us to do…if you will not forgive, neither will your Father forgive you…”
But instead of the world celebrating this victory of Christ, the conversation deteriorated into one of past racial sins.
The CNN article ended with this question from a black pastor, “My question to white Christians is, how can you praise black people for [forgiving] when you don’t do the same kind of thing yourself?”
This question is an indication of the deep seated pain and unforgiveness that still remains in the hearts of many who have been affected by racial discrimination.
However, each of us; black and white; have contributed to nailing Christ to the cross with our sins…be they as egregious as racist murder or as common as telling a white lie. They are all sin and they all offend God equally.
But God in His wisdom has said, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25)
Dear God, I know my faith In You demands that I pray for the lost, and not question their behavior. But as human as I am, sometimes it is hard not to ask. Grant me the grace to forgive others and remember their sin no more…not for their sake, but for my own sake…for my own salvation. Amen.