Dear America: An Apology

Dear America,

I want to apologize. On behalf of my brothers and sisters in the Christian Church, I need to say that I’m sorry that we have failed you.

Image:Pixabay
Image: Pixabay

We were sent by our Lord Jesus, to spread the love of God to everyone we meet. We have not done that very well. In fact, many times, we have spread division, hate, guilt and shame instead of love, compassion, mercy, grace, forgiveness, or peace.

I’m very, very sorry about that.

I hate to admit it, but the violence that your country is drowning in now is partly our fault. Not necessarily because we are the one’s doing the violence, but because we have failed in our mission to preemptively transform this nation – and the world – with the irresistible love of Christ who lives within each and every one of us.

Yes, I know that sometimes we are the one’s doing the violence, and sometimes we’re cheering on those who torture, or drop bombs on innocents, but my apology is more specifically for the fact that we have failed to be agents of change in this world the way Jesus intended.

I also know that we have done our fair share of “good” in the world – funding homeless shelters, feeding the poor, caring for the unwed mothers and the orphans. Yes, those things are good, and I’m glad some of us have made that a priority. But none of this good work makes up for our failure to love our enemies and promote peace.

See, instead of focusing all of our attention and time and energy on loving you – our neighbors – we have become endlessly distracted with a vast number of things that have nothing to do with our mission. We’ve tried to manipulate the society using politics. We’ve demonized other religions. We’ve taken sides in political debates. We’ve protected our own self-interests rather than lay down our lives so that the power of Christ might be revealed.

Simply put, we have not acted very much like Jesus.

I know that an apology doesn’t change that fact. I know that the only thing that really makes any difference is when those of us who claim to follow the Prince of Peace actually begin to love the way He did, and serve others the way He did, and forgive the way He did, and love everyone unconditionally the way He did.

I know that.

Now, we’re not going to shove it down your throat. We’re not trying to force you to agree with us on any of that. But we do hope that you’ll give us another chance to show you how wonderful Jesus really is, and how powerful His love can be, and how He can turn everyone – even the worst criminal and most violent offender – into the sort of person who brings real joy and life into the room, and who is full of grace and mercy.

For now, please forgive us for our miserable, embarrassing failure to put the unsearchable riches of Christ on display. This is our crime. This is our sin. We are truly sorry for this, and we’re praying for another chance to get it right.

I hope one day we can all make it up to you and that you’ll find it in your heart to pardon us for missing the entire point of what Jesus came and died to set into motion.

His love really is transformative. He truly is someone worth getting to know. Please don’t let us keep you from finding out for yourself. You might even discover that you’re better at loving others than any of us are.

Sincerely,

A concerned follower of Jesus.

**

Keith Giles is the author of several books including “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”. He is also the co-host of The Heretic Happy Hour podcast and lives with his wife and sons in Orange, California.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • jekylldoc

    Caught between the structures which harness our fears to make an economy run and the life-giving spirit who urges us to pry the cold, dead fingers of that fear off our time and money, we are in need of God’s mercy. But can we really miss the fact that God’s mercy shows up when we actually take the part of others out of genuine concern, so we realize that we, too, are cared for?

  • DebbyJane65

    I have a challenge with a person or a group of persons apologizing to a nation for an organization that they are just a very small part of. The Body of Christ (Church) has many members. I do not think one member can adequately apologize for the whole. I think it is vanity. There are a multitude of reasons as to why America is suffering. The nation as the United States of America has many churches. Perhaps to offer a prayer is a better Christian way to express our broken hearts. Humble hearts will bring more healing. After all, it is excessive pride (sin) that has contributed to the place we find our nation in suffering to be. Let us, (the Church) do better.

  • Everett Kier Jr

    Hearty agreement. Just as a note–Lewis expresses very similar thoughts in his essay “The Dangers of National Repentance”.

  • DebbyJane65

    “Take the part of others out of genuine concern” is best reached through prayer by giving the concern to God to handle. Gods mercy shows up when the motive is pure and not self-promoting.

  • Bill Scudder

    I believe the author has a point here. The evangelical church has become much more liberal since the 1920’s in it’s stance on morality especially when it comes to those in politics

  • jekylldoc

    I agree. Prayer is sort of the opposite of arguing on the internet.

  • you are so right on!! I’ve been wondering lately where all the good blogging is of a prophetic voice. Here are some suggestions I found today.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/paperbacktheology/2017/12/evangelical-brothers-sisters-trump-biggest-mistake-greatest-opportunity.html

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/paperbacktheology/2017/10/stanley-hauerwas-prayer-enemies-learning-hate.html

    I have been fishing new streams to find blogging opportunities. I recently started a Blog of my own and have been making connections out in the blogosphere on WordPress and other servers.

    I highly recommend:
    Stanley Hauerwas: A Prayer for Our Enemies As We Are All Learning How to Hate

    Here is a little bit of it:
    …you have bent us toward reconciliation, that we may be able to pass one another Christ’s peace. It is a terrible thing to ask of us. I am sure I cannot do it, but you are a wily God able to accomplish miracles. May we be struck alive with the miracle of your grace, even to being reconciled with ourselves. Amen https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/36005dfbce3502f4ca6bf41fc8676004a6890f5a1a683d10777827c029ab4565.jpg

  • jekylldoc

    charles – I would love to know the name/location of your blogging. I appreciate your voice here.

    Important thoughts from Hauerwas. What a good thinker he is, and what a warm heart he has!

  • Steve Hicks

    “Liberal” is a pretty relative term, don’t you think, conditioned to a time and a society ? I’m not clear what it means about a span of almost a century of changing society and “times.” ?

  • Chari McCauley

    The Father’s love for His children is global, there is only one Father.
    As far as I can see, bigotry hates all the things that NO child gets to choose about the circumstances of their birth.

    Discrimination and bigotry is like saying you could do a better job than “The God” you worship, isn’t it?
    Not to mention that what we know as Mother Nature (Romans 1:20) didn’t give anyone a choice either, did She?