Confession from the church? It sounds backwards. For years confession took place within the church not from the church. I introduced you or reminded you of a story that Donald Miller gives in his book Blue Like Jazz. I remember when I read that specific part being completely shocked. The idea that christians were apologizing to unbelievers for wrongdoings whether old or new. I have thought about this concept within the last few days and whether there was truly a need for this in christianity today.
Review of history will often times show the “dirt” that is not seen during the present time. This is obvious in American history whether it be war tactics or policies enforced. One can see the Roman Catholic church and see the corruption and deceitfulness that crept into that establishment. Todays Christian movement is no different. As mentioned before, the crusades, slavery, welfare, etc, were policies or events that were strongly influenced by christians. Should christians today apologize though?
As some comments on the earlier entry stated, I believe that it is imperative for christians to apologize for actions that have taken place or are still currently taking place. However, the idea of an apology is only effective when action takes place. For instance, when someone lies to you and then apologizes, that apology is only effective when and if the person does not lie again. If the person continues to lie the apology is in vain. As followers of Christ, I believe that apologies should take place. Apologize for the fact that those who took place in such horrible events were not loving others as Christ was. I believe it builds bridges. What harm comes from offering apologies to people who might still hold such things against the movement of Christ? We often times feel it to be unnecessary but this is often times due to our own pride. It is never easy to apologize. Especially apologizing that you never took part in. Yet, people still see christians today through lenses that were formed from events of the past. While this may be unfair in some aspects it is the reality. Thus, having a mindset of humility and willingness to apologize, fences may be mended.
Not with words alone however. If followers of Christ do not show the true love of Christ then apologies are worthless. The two parts in my mind are inseparable in order for both to be truly effective. Humility and an acknowledgement of wrongdoings combined with action to restore relationships as well as show and share the love of Christ are the ways that Christ has called us to live by.
This entire entry was started with a story from another believer who apologized to the unbelievers of his university. At the end of the story he shares how his normally rather agnostic campus was intrigued and more comfortable discussing religion and God with the followers of Christ. There is something beautiful and yet mysterious in a sincere apology.