I look around and see rancor, ignorance, division, tribalism, nationalism, dishonesty, and slander. There’s so many hurting people who are trying to be heard—the #metoo, #blacklivesmatter, and #churchtoo movements; refugees; and sexual slaves. Sin pervades the land and the church.
I’ve been so troubled by groups of hurting people, appalled by our leaders in both government and church, and saddened by divisions. It’s time to lament. The Bible provides excellent guidance in its many psalms of lament, as well as the book of Lamentations.
To open communication with God, I’m starting by lamenting over our sins. I’m not writing them in lament form, but listing them to make it easy to follow. Please join me in confessing the sins of the church, knowing judgment begins with us. To confess well we face truth, asking God to open our minds and hearts and overcome our willing blindness and tribalism.
Just as Daniel confessed the sins of his people the Jews, I confess and lament on behalf of myself and the church, particularly the white church:
- I confess the sinful attitude of pride that says that everyone who works hard or acts right will be treated justly and rise above their circumstances. Forgive us for taking credit for what you, O God, have graciously given us and failing to understand what poor and minority groups suffer.
- I lament unconcern about the systemic injustice, prejudice, and inequality in wealth, education, and opportunity that occurs because of the continuing impact on families from slavery and Jim Crow laws—and especially teaching in the church.
- I confess elevating the United States’ best over your kingdom, O God. Teach us to trust you with our earthly home while we seek first the gospel of your kingdom.
- I lament unconcern over the plight of refugees, rarely considering the Golden Rule—treating others as we would want to be treated.
- I admit being more concerned about the rule of law and safety than loving immigrants. Remind us that we are beneficiaries of your complete pardon and were made citizens of your kingdom all by your grace, not because we earned it.
- I lament the use of certain terms for others makes us less caring and loving toward them. Forgive us for not only falling for the enemy’s lies about others but also propagating them in our circles or on social media.
- I confess failing to see all people as made in your image, even those who grievously sin, stand on other political sides, or cannot contribute to society in the usual ways such as the unborn, old, and mentally challenged.
- I confess the lying, slander, and hatred that has overtaken our political conversations.
- I admit failure to speak up for truth and victims despite the consequences to us.
- I confess failure to listen thoughtfully and compassionately to truly understand others.
- I lament the lack of unity in the body of Christ because of politics and prejudice.
- I confess failing to trust you by turning to idols such as leaders or military power.
- I admit worshipping idols of comfort, safety, prosperity, and entertainment instead of seeking morality, righteousness, and your kingdom’s sake.
- I confess a lack of love for the least of these: victims of crime, prejudice, illness, and injustice; the poor and needy; those displaced by war and famine; the unborn, children, single parents, slaves, and the homeless.
Please join me in asking God for mercy. What have I missed?