What the Black Church Can Teach America About Forgiveness

The wrongful death of George Floyd is now seared into the consciousness of America. The cell phone video of the incident led to a moral explosion around the world and became the catalyst for seeming cultural change in the US. But racial reconciliation advocate David Bailey said it had been mounting.

“Race relations in America always stays at a simmer and then as an incident comes in it takes it up to a boiling point but it’s always there,” Bailey said.

In this case, the boiling point closely followed the deaths of jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, shot by Louisville, Kentucky Police serving a no-knock warrant.

Forgiveness: A Part of Any Ongoing Cultural Shift

Pastor Bill Haley’s Coracle ministry focuses on spiritual development and action. He says forgiveness should be a part of any ongoing cultural shift, especially among Christians.

“I would like us to get to a place where white Americans are constantly asking for forgiveness from black Americans for what we’ve done and for what we do and for what we allow and sometimes what we even support,” Haley said.

He’s quick to point out, though, that unsolicited forgiveness has been a norm for black Americans.

The Black Church & Forgiveness: “They’ve Had a Lot of Practice”

“In fact, I think the black church is the teacher for the country on what Jesus meant when he said to forgive other people,” Haley said.

“They’ve had a lot of practice.”

One of the biggest examples came last year in a Texas courtroom from a young man named Brandt Jean.

“I forgive you and I know that if you go to God and ask, He will forgive you,” Jean said.

Those words came about a year after Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger killed his brother, Botham Jean, in his own apartment. After working a long shift, she had somehow mistaken Jean’s apartment for hers and shot him because she said she was afraid.

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Source: CBN