African Americans earn more than $1 trillion each year. If we were a separate nation, we would be 14th compared to other nations–amazing progress from the days of slavery! We are not naïve. We know both Blacks and sympathetic Whites have fought to achieve this progress. At the same time, we also know that despite this progress, inequity still exists. Some still hold grudges against those who either held slaves or later benefited from the system. Others take the high road; they choose to forgive those who tolerated that unjust system. They view the past as Joseph viewed the injustice his brothers inflicted on him. They sold him into slavery. After their father died, Joseph knew that neither he nor his brothers could undo the past. The best the brothers could do was to own up to their sin and ask forgiveness. We learn from Genesis 50 that when they admitted their horrible sin, Joseph forgave them. He knew that was the only way to be free from the bondage of a grudge. He said, “You meant it for evil; God meant it for good.” To forgive does not mean to keep tolerating injustice. Rather, we forgive the offenders for what they did in the past. So if we have conflict — within families, in the church, or between ethnic or racial groups, God calls the offender to admit their fault, the offended to forgive and be reconciled.
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