…for our ignorance?
“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” Luke 23:34
Can we be forgiven for ignorance? Can we be forgiven for not knowing?
One of the ways that Jesus learned to embody, speak, and act on the love of God was by asking and answering questions. As I continue to reflect on the violence in our society and the love of God, allow me to offer a few more questions.
Do we think that by doing nothing or saying nothing we are okay with God and our fellow human beings? Are we okay with those who experience hatred and violence? Are we really forgiven for our ignorance?
Dietrich Bonheoffer wrote,
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.
Bonhoeffer may be speaking of the harm of ignorance. Which leads me to a few more questions:
- How many black men have to die as a result of fear, suspicion, power, and privilege?
- How many police officers will pay the price of retaliation?
- How many innocent people have to pay the price of intentional ignorance?
- How long will we, people of privilege, remain silent and do nothing because we say to ourselves, “Well, it is terrible, but it is not my problem.”
Father, forgive them, for they don’t know…
“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” These words are spoken by a person whose only weapon was the love of God, whose only crime was being different, and who raised suspicion because he challenged the systems of hatred, prejudice, and bigotry.
Yet, in the midst of being put to death for extending love even to his enemies, he calls upon God to forgive the ignorance of his abusers and accusers.
Our hearts break…
Over the past several weeks I have been asking the question “Is love enough to respond to the violence of our culture?” Is love enough?
Our hearts break for the violence we have experienced over the past 48 hours. Texas, Minnesota, Louisiana…the list continues to grow. How long will the list get?
Our hearts break for the violence against young African-American men. Even though we are moved to say, “Some one must do something,” we say nothing that leads to change. Can we be forgiven for our silence?
Our hearts break for our cities, neighborhoods, and communities drowning in a culture of violence. Even though we recognize that something must be done, can we be forgiven for our intentional inactivity?
I confess that my heart breaks for the church of Jesus Christ. Our weapon is love. But, do we like the idea of being loved for ourselves more than extending love to others?
Father, forgive us, for we are missing the point!
Is love enough? I have put my life on the love of God I have experienced in and through Jesus Christ and the community that carries his name.
The love of God is more than enough. Or, do we have to be forgiven for our ignorance?
“O Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me so love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope,
Where there is darkness, light,
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.”
-Francis of Assisi