Forgiveness without Repentance

I see today a beautiful evangelical Christian religious awakening in America. Recent political events have caused Americans to face crisis, to look within ourselves. And the deep sense of the problems have caused many to look out for a basic faith, something that will make things right, something that will anchor us back in a the sheltered harbor of the justice and morality and goodness for which we long.

But I think many of us want forgiveness without repentance.

I sense this so much as I try to establish relationships with my white brethren in the South. I find that they want my relationship, but they want more to quickly forget the brutality and the injustice that their people put upon many of us in the name of Christianity. And that’s the frightening part.

Ours is not a story of bitterness–it is a story of love and the triumphs of the God of love. But it is a story carved out of the realities of violence and poverty, ending not in some sugar-coated sense of brotherly love but in the deep conviction that only the power of Christ’s crucifixion on the cross and the glory of his resurrection can heal the deep racial wounds in both black and white people in America.

Unless we see the depth of our need and unless we see the cross as the only answer then we could see this wave of evangelical awakening someday turn into a wave of repression. For what is happening in the religious wars of Lebanon and Ireland today and what happened in Nazi Germany prove that there is nothing more dangerous than latent religious prejudice and racism festering for a time beneath the surface of a light religious zeal only to explode later in violence, death and hatred.

–John Perkins, Introduction, Let Justice Roll Down

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