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.
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.
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.