Good Friday is a day of repentance. This is the day when Christians think about Jesus' willingness to be punished, not for things He did, but for things I do. So I don't have to be punished.
Since this is a blog about living a God-honoring life, I think it's worth thinking about areas where we need to repent, on this Good Friday.
This year's presidential primary season has, especially in the past week or so, brought to light once again the issue of racial prejudice that we have in this country. Now, before I go any further, I want you to know that I am not about to tell you who to vote for, or who I'm planning to vote for. We have a curtain on the voting booth for a reason. But the controversy generated by the video clips of Mr. Obama's pastor has proven that this issue runs very deep, even in the church, and that we are equal-opportunity racists. And, as Christians, we all know we need to deal with it.
It's a matter of allowing God to root this rotten stuff out. Confessing it is the first step. Remember, Jesus hung on the cross for this sin, too.
So I'll tell you my little story:
I was raised to believe racism was wrong, and I truly believed I was not prejudiced until I was hired to work as a lunchroom and recess supervisor at my children's grade school. As I worked with the children, the Lord began to show me that, in very subtle ways, I was not giving the African American children a fair shake. In every little playground squabble, I tended to believe they were guilty until proven innocent. It wasn't fair, and God was showing me that.
There was one little girl who was just a terror on the playground. She was very heavy and very black -guess what?-two prejudices rolled into one! Every adult in the building had had unpleasant dealings with her. One day the Lord just told me very firmly that I needed to reach out to this very difficult child. As I was walking her class out to the playground, it suddenly dawned on me. We shared the same first name! I came up beside her and said, "Hi, Joyce! Did you know we are name-twins? My name is Joyce too!" She gave me the first smile I had ever seen on her face. Next thing you know, she was holding my hand. I realized we had all been demonizing this little seven-year-old girl. And here's the rub-my own daughter was seven at that time! From that time on, I determined to treat this child the way I would want my own little girl treated by any adult, with cheerfulness, fairness, and respect.
This was a huge breakthrough for me. Since then I have tried to be very conscious of any biases I may have. The Bible says we are to "take captive every thought for Christ", meaning, don't just let your mind go any old place, but be willing to give it correction. We are also to "think of others as better" than ourselves, meaning, don't project on to others your own sinfulness, but assume the best about them. Both of those things speak to this issue of conquering racial prejudice. My mind still wants to head down the path of prejudice, so I need to pray for the Lord's help to overcome it, daily.
I know confession is hard. Is there anyone out there who would like to share what God is doing with them in the area of racial bias? We can all learn from each other and pray for each other.
Remember, Jesus died so that we might be dead to sin, and alive in Him.