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Living the Good News of Reconciliation – Inviting Jesus In

Love Your Enemies 2Key Bible Verse:  Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  Ephesians 4:2

Dig Deeper:  Ephesians 4:1-4

When Rick was 12, he and his brother were attacked by an angry black youth.  After several swings, the fight broke up, but Rick began to hold a fear in his heart about young black men.

Later, as Rick grew in his commitment to reconciliation and justice, he knew that he had to deal with the memory of his fight and the stereotype of young black men that it enforced.  So during a special prayer time, Rick invited Jesus into his memory.

In his mind’s eye, Rick saw Jesus enter the baseball field where the fight happened, break it up, look at the young black man and speak words of tenderness to break through his defenses.

As Rick watched Jesus, he began to feel immense woundedness in the young man that had resulted in rage, and Rick began to feel compassion.   As a result, Rick was empowered by Jesus to extend forgiveness out of a new understanding, to pray for the young man, and to ask for God’s forgiveness for himself.

Jesus cleansed Rick that day and freed him to make a commitment to work for a world where people of color will not have so many reasons for rage.

—Brenda Salter McNeil and Rick Richardson in The Heart of Racial Justice

 

My Response:  In what ways have I bought into harmful stereotypes and destructive prejudices?  I need to invite Jesus into this bad memory that’s fueled by fear and/or anger: …

 

Thought to Apply:  The number one problem in our world is alienation, rich versus poor, black versus white, labor versus management, conservative versus liberal, East versus West .… But Christ came to bring about reconciliation and peace.—Billy Graham (evangelist)

Adapted from The Heart of Racial Justice (IVP, 2004)

Prayer for the Week:   Heavenly Father, show me what it means to have authentic relationships within your diverse body of believers; give me deeper insights into my prejudices; make me a catalyst for peace and reconciliation.

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