July 12, 2015, 9:19 am
Filed under: Politics

After the horrific act of murder of 9 Christian people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, the family members of the those who were murdered, forgave the man who committed this heinous act. That does not mean that they do not want him punished, nor does it mean that they do not grieve the loss of the ones they loved. What it means is that they let go of the horror, they let go of the control that hatred would have over their lives. It means that they acted as their Lord and Savior  acted and taught.

Jesus from the cross as he was being crucified said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” In the gospel of Matthew 6:12 where Jesus teaches the prayer that we call the Lord’s prayer we are told that we are to forgive those who sin against us if we wish to be forgiven for our sins against God. The disciple Peter asks Jesus “How many times must I forgive, up to 7 times?” Mat 18:21 Jesus reply is 70 times 7. The truth is that it is also beneficial to us to forgive those who would harm us, not because we forget the harm, but so we can release that which would harm us more.

If we keep our anger, our hatred of the one who has done harm to us, it tends to control our actions in life. If you see one who you just absolutely despise, you tend to avoid meeting them, that means they control your actions. I personally grew up in an integrated neighborhood in New York City, we played ball together in summer and winter, we hung out together and just generally enjoyed each other. There were black and white, we had German, Irish, Italian and African kids, we enjoyed Boy Scouts, as well as sports together. Later when I was a young man working and had a car and lived in an apartment, the folks in the first floor apartment were black and we enjoyed each others company. We would have barbecue parties and just generally have fun together.

One of the folks that hung out with us, said he needed to go to a court date but had no car so I loaned him mine. I never saw him or the car again, the police told me that they were able to trace it to Mexico, but that was all they knew. I was angry and upset, but I forgave the man and went on about my life. Never saw him again either. As far as slavery is concerned, in my past are a number of family ancestors who fought in the war between the states, Union side, they lost their lives in battles fought. They died to ensure that slavery would be ended, I also know that once that horror was ended General Robert E. Lee was in a church service and Communion was served. There was a black man in that service and when he went down to receive the bread and wine, no other person in that church went down. The General stood up and went and knelt at the rail with that man, and they partook of the Lord’s Supper together on that day. Yet I have heard that people want to tear down his statue because he fought on the Confederate side. Should we also tear down the artifacts from FDR as he imprisoned many Japanese American citizens during WW II. It seems to me that it is much better to let go of the hatred and anger that we feel about these terrible wrongs, in order for us to better work together to cause a greater country to emerge. There is more than enough injustice in this world to go around, lets try, together to create a world where justice and mercy flow together.

Prejudice has no place among a truly free people, black against white, and against Hispanic and Asian, as well as white against these same groups and them against the others, does not further freedom it only helps to destroy that which our nation was founded upon. The words of the Declaration of Independence should shine forth for all of us. We are members of one family, Americans all, let us act like it, we are all created equal. We enter the world naked and with nothing except our families, we leave the world in the same condition. While we are living in this world, let us live as one family, created equal, with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We are guaranteed none of these except the right to life, liberty we must continue to fight for, as our government continues to erode this right, and happiness is something we strive for.

Jesus Christ taught another thing that we would do well to remember, that is simply this: Mat 22:39 “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It is time for us to remember that we are all neighbors and act accordingly.

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