A true story of Prejudice, Forgiveness, and True Reconciliation from The Best Christian Workplaces Institute.
Can racial prejudice ever be forgiven? If so, what would true reconciliation look like in our country and particularly in our houses of worship?
Consider the following true story from Marvin Williams, Lead Pastor at Trinity Church in Lansing, Michigan:
One year at our church, I was teaching the Old Testament book of Malachi. The sermon series was called “Reset.” In the next-to-last message, we were resetting justice: “Correcting injustice in the world begins with God correcting injustice in me.”
After the service, a man came up and said he needed to ask me to forgive him. “When you were introduced as the candidate for senior teaching pastor, I didn’t vote for you.”
“I’m sure many people didn’t vote for me,” I said, hoping to reassure him.
“You need to know why I didn’t vote for you,” he replied. I continued to listen. He told me that because of some past experiences in his life he had developed a spirit of prejudice and racism against black people. In essence, he was saying he didn’t vote for me because I was black.
As we stood together, he began to weep and asked me if I would forgive him. “It’s not a problem,” I said. He retorted, “Listen, you don’t understand. I really need you to forgive me. I don’t want the junk of prejudice and racism spilling over into my kids’ lives. I didn’t vote for you, and I was wrong. God is using your preaching to impact my life.”
This man heard God and was acting on what he heard. I forgave him. We hugged for a good while, weeping in each other’s arms. I was moved and humbled, and I rejoiced in being reminded that God had me in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.
That next Sunday we wrapped up Malachi, and people were invited to share how the series had impacted their lives. The gentleman I had met, stood up, and told what God had done in his heart. The congregation cheered and whistled, and I sensed that God was on the move creating His Church.
The Best Christian Workplaces Institute (bcwinstitute.org) is actively involved in the current, ongoing conversation about racial reconciliation unfolding throughout our country and involving the work of God’s people everywhere.
This is the miracle of Reconciliation! The Greek word translated “reconciliation” literally means to change completely. Before we knew Jesus Christ, we were sinners, outcasts and enemies of God. But because of His finished work of Redemption on the Cross, we are now brought back into relationship with the Father. Instead of enemies, we are now sons and daughters! Jesus Christ has broken down every wall (Ephesians 2:14).
He has not only reconciled us to Himself, He has also given us the Ministry of Reconciliation. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). No matter your skin color or economic background, the Father is calling you to Himself.
This Sunday, October 24, we will continue our series, “Freely Give!” with the incredible gift of Reconciliation. Where would we be without Christ’s miracle-working, life-changing Reconciliation? Please join us at 10:35am either in the building or online for the Live broadcast on either Facebook (Search: Honolulu AG) or our YouTube channel (Search: Honolulu Assembly of God). A link will be posted later to our website (honoluluag.org).
Coming Up: Pastor Ron Peer will lead a Drive-Thru Prayer outreach ministry in the church parking lot on Saturday, November 6, starting at 1pm. Let’s join together that day to pray for people in need. The Ladies’ Lunch will take place the following Saturday, November 13, beginning at 11am. Ladies, please do not miss this fun time!
Aloha and Aloha ke Akua!