So what? Does that change anything? I can’t prove to you that I am not racist or that America is not racist. I am shocked by the way African Americans were treated in our country’s recent history. It was terrible slavery that scandalized a God who cared for them as much as any white—and more. God shows a bias for the broken, and we were breaking them.
Sadly, the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children to the third and fourth generation. We are reaping the disaster that we sowed. Tough luck, America.
So what can we do? Make sure we have repented for the way we enslaved them for multiplied decades (and wherever we continue to do so). Hopefully they can and will forgive us.
I pray for a lot of young adults with father wounds. I tell them, “You are not responsible for what your parents have done to you. But you are responsible for your responses.” I ask them to do three things: acknowledge the wounding, forgive imperfect parents, then ask for forgiveness for imperfect responses. Forgiveness is not saying that dad or mom did not do a lot of damage. It is saying that I am not going to try to get even. I entrust them to the care of a just and merciful God. Bitterness sticks in the soul and makes me say and do stupid things. Hatred is a cancer, a slow killer, and I repeat what was done to me.
The reaction of blacks who looted or fought in the last year demonstrates the kind of reaction that happens when wounded children are unwilling to forgive their parents and feel like they need to get even for what was visited upon them. Can’t blame them—but the law must. Sadly, innocent people are being hurt, looted, and murdered in the name of justice. Not close to justice.
I hope they can deal with their resentment, or they will continue to react the rest of their lives. Their reaction is no excuse for breaking the law, for doing what has been done to them, any more than a child has a right to get even with a father who was so broken that he didn’t know how to be a father. By reacting, that child is passing on a skewed legacy, and his own children will reap the bitter fruit. They are. Hurt people hurt people.
Far better to forgive, as Corrie ten Boom did for the atrocities of Nazi Germany and became a redeemer rather than a reactionary. We need more blacks like the ones I know who are healing agents to a broken generation. An unfathered generation, which is what 70% of black children are, is said in the Bible to be under a curse—a curse of abandonment, rejection, lovelessness, self-loathing, and insecurity.
Forgiveness, born out of the violent death of Christ, lifts the curse. And as we sing in the well-known Christmas carol, “He comes to make the blessings flow far as the curse is found.” Everyone agrees—we need the curse lifted. Blacks and whites must do it together, whites by making sure they have asked for forgiveness where they or those before them exhibited horrendous racial discrimination (and some sadly still do), and blacks by making sure they are not excusing a reactionary life style that prolongs the pain and produces a racial discrimination in reverse, but that does what Jesus did as a first order of business from the cross. He said, “Father, forgive them.”