Imagine what might happen if the American church stopped trying to defend that of our history that is indefensible? What if we owned our collective sin and humbly asked God and society for forgiveness?
And what might happen if we Christians took it to the personal level and asked for forgiveness for our own failure to live a Christ-like life in front of our friends, co-workers and families? What if we actually admitted that we are sometimes hypocrites, we are often conflicted and we sometimes doubt and fear?
And what might happen if we Christians knocked the chip off our own shoulders, stopped arguing with everyone and actually started talking to people who may think differently than we? Not to convince them that we are right, but truly attempting to understand, to hear, to feel.
And what might happen if I decided to listen before I spoke, attempted to show love and respect above all things and broke free from my annoying addiction to having to be right…on everything…all the time?
Perhaps in this light of humility and love, the world may see the Light of the World in the church, in us and, dare I say, in me. Imagine that!
Forgive your church for we have stumbled and fallen in so many ways. Forgive your people for we have failed to represent you well. Forgive me for I am quick to speak and slow to listen, quick to judge and slow to understand. I am filled with pride and arrogance. Forgive us I pray, forgive me I pray and free us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop, a Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church, has been the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois since 1997.