Our Two National Sins
Each January, we are given the opportunity to ponder our two great national sins.
January 22 reminds us of our great national sin of abortion. Since the Roe v. Wade decision on January 22, 1973, we Americans have experienced over 54,000,000 abortions. My heart is burdened on several counts. There is the tragic loss of life. There is the untold pain experienced by both women and men in the aftermath of abortion (how I long to tell post-abortive women and men that there is freedom from their pain through Jesus Christ). There is the seeming entrenchment of the predominant view that abortion on demand is a societal good.
The third Monday of January reminds us of our great national sin of racism. We celebrate the birthday and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We are reminded again of the evils of the past—of slavery, of segregation, of racism. We are reminded of the remarkable history of the non-violent struggle for civil rights. We are reminded of the need to recognize that this wound still needs healed.
On both of these issues, I have a tendency to shy away from loving my neighbor as I love myself. Loving my neighbor requires that I actually enter my neighbor’s world. Am I really caring of the woman who feels that she has no options for her unplanned pregnancy? Am I willing to love her as I love myself? As a white person, have I tried, really tried, to understand the challenges and difficulties that an African-American has both historically and presently with both blatant and subtle racism?
I was watching a television documentary on MLK day about King’s life and work. When they got to the Selma protests, I wept, really for the first time in my life at the sad specter of our racist past. And then I felt sad at myself—that I have lived so long and had not had that reaction until now.
May God forgive me.
Galatians 5:14 “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”