“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10
What is godly grief? I think of it as the regret, or better, the shame that comes with recognizing the sinfulness of past (& current) behavior. Godly grief comes when we can begin to see differently. Godly grief leads to repentance…which is another way of saying that it leads to us changing our minds and changing our direction.
We are in dire need of godly grief in our nation. We, and I am speaking to white Christians, need to recognize and repent of the systemic racism that continues to define life for our brothers and sisters of color. Often, though, we become defensive and resist seeing, pretending that the problem is for another time and for other people. As part of my own confession and repentance I am remembering the racism that I’ve been a participant. Today’s story could be thought of as “casual racism” and I’m sure that some would defend it as, ‘no big deal.” But it is.
Right out of high school I went to Long Beach City College. While there I joined a “wanna-be” sorority. It was fun, but it was also a time when I engaged in some of my worst behavior (wild living). This club, like others, had to raise money for various activities and in my time there they had one large event fundraiser. A slave sale.
That’s right a slave sale. This was a night when we (female club members) would auction ourselves off…to guys. Following would be dates, or washing a car, or baking cookies, or something. As I think back on it now I’m appalled that I participated and that I did not have the maturity to recognize the casual racism and sexism that were at the heart of this fundraiser. This was truly despicable.
I am grateful for becoming a woman of faith who can say, “no, that was not ok.” I am thankful for the forgiveness God offers me. I don’t presume to think that I can receive forgiveness from those who have been hurt by casual racism and sexism.
What about you? What do you remember from your past?