Forgive us, for we have sinned: A unilateral confession of racism

Oh Lord, the God of all peoples-

You tell us to confess our sins,
the sins of our country,
to one another
and for one another.

If we are truly righteous, we will take ownership of the sins of our land.

We have sinned for generations.
We have been arrogant, violent, heartless, and ignorant--for generations upon generations.

And now, our hatred and violence surprises us and devastates us.
Let our confession prompt your forgiveness.
Let forgiveness motivate us to make restitution to those we've sinned against.

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (James 5:17)

We have worshipped our own success,
our own privilege,
our own destiny,
for generations,
to the peril of others.
We are reaping the legacy of that self-absorption and ignorance,
let alone the hatred and violence that preceded it.

"I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments." (Exodus 20:5-6)

And yet, you are a God of a thousand chances
and a thousand blessings.
You wipe away our sins as far as the East is from the West.
You will answer us, if we will humble ourselves and confess our sins.

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Oh, Lord, forgive us for racism.
We weep in grief and shame over the deeds of our country,
of its leaders, its laws, and its citizens.

Forgive us for our mass incarceration.
Forgive us for our systems that facilitate poverty and class.
Forgive us for our ignorance and pride.
Forgive us for elevating the rich and demonizing the poor.
Forgive us for enslaving the weak and empowering the strong.
Forgive us for protecting traditions and avoiding change.
Forgive us for not having the right conversations and the right time,
even though its scary and divisive.

We repent.

Now change us.
Heal us.
Mobilize us.
Help us love like you and live like you, Jesus.

In your name,


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