Rev. Sudha Mehta©
My Indian friend called and shared an unpleasant experience. She was at a grocery store in a long line at the check out. When she was almost to the register, a woman shoved in front of her and started to unload her own groceries. My friend had waited a while as had the others behind her, so, finding this quite rude she reminded the woman that she was breaching the line. The woman quite rudely and angrily got in her face saying it was her right to step in and there was nothing anyone could do to stop her. She cited her race and ancestry as her excuse.
Taken aback, my friend retorted with a question: “How long will it take you to forgive the things of the past and not demand reparation?!”
Yes, you got it! The woman who felt entitled to breach the line was one of a different race whose ancestors had been brought over from another country as slaves.
This got me thinking. If everyone was to feel entitled due to a past injustice, where would it stop?
For my self, as I noted in my previous blog titled “DNA??!!” I am not sure of my own bloodline. I am from India and I identify as American, but if I wanted to hunt for reparations, whom would I hold guilty?
I could go back to the British rulers as the first in line, for they came as peaceful people but then took over my country for a couple hundred years. They left the country divided in pieces and created much violence before their departure. The division caused personal harm and a loss of all personal wealth to my family who were forced into becoming refugees in their own nation.
Not knowing who was responsible for my own bloodline, pure or impure, I could go back to a previous conqueror. Was it the Persians who did us great harm? Or Alexander the Great? Or the Ottomans? Even Genghis Khan expanded his kingdom there. Many conquerors that have come and gone to and from India. They took away a lot of the wealth, and while in India, they taxed and enslaved the indigenous peoples heavily. There have been many Indian rulers that have fought valiantly for their motherland. There was politics as well, which resulted in marital alliances between Hindu kings and Muslim rulers. India has a rich history of which I have been a fan.
Daddy told us the last name Mehta was given to the scribes in a royal court some 200 plus years ago. True? I don’t know. What was the influence of my family in history? Unknown. Were we just little peasants in the fields that were overrun by armies? I don’t know.
As far as the caste system is concerned, I come from the Kshatriyas. that is the warrior class, so it is not impossible that my family had some influence. The Kshatriyas were also royal kings. AHH, I dream! It is a sweet dream, but if that be so, I am owed all the more reparation.
I would like to go even further in History. All of my problems would never have started if Daddy Adam and Mommy Eve had not fallen into the trap set by the Serpent (AKA Lucifer AKA Satan) and eaten that good-looking fruit. If they had not failed, I would not have all these troubles. Perhaps they should be charged for the wrong done to me.
But wait a minute, shouldn’t I blame Lucifer? After all, he enticed Eve to eat.
Finally, God created Lucifer, and He is all knowing, so why did He create this awful creature knowing someday he will be rebel? And while I am asking, why did He put that particular fruit tree in the garden knowing full well that the human will get enticed? He knew the future then too . . . right?!
Yes, He did! So, I come asking,”What are You going to give me as reparation, God? Is is Your fault!” CAREFUL Sudha, Adam already tried that line in the Garden!
1 Peter 1:17 If you call “Father” the one who judges everyone impartially according to what they have done, you must live in reverent fear as long as you are strangers in a strange land.
God replies in:
John 3: 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.(BSB)
John 1:29 The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
So, how far should reparation go? Do I just blame everybody for everything, or do I bear any personal responsibility? Should I live in the past, or take a hold of TODAY and make something of it? God placed the particular tree in the garden to provide CHOICE. Freedom of CHOICE is what makes me human. Take it away and I am subject to your whims. I am a slave. God wanted NO SLAVES, therefore He gave the right to choose. I can choose to obey, or disobey. If I choose to obey, then I become His in love. I am His by MY choice. Hence the tree.
Back to the issue of sin, reparation, and choice. I find that Lucifer, Adam, Eve, AND all those that wronged me or my ancestral bloodline, did so by choice. Somewhere, somehow the chain of wrongdoing must be broken. If the chain is not broken then I too will do the same. I will wrong the next person in my way and blame it on others. I will be the one breaching the line at the store and insisting it is my right to do so. Never mind all those I hurt in the process!
Nasty process! I must choose to break the chain. I can blame God who gave me the right to choose, or I can praise Him for the same free will. He loved me enough to send His Son to pay the price for all my wrongdoing. Jesus stepped up to be the Sacrificial Lamb of God before the Foundation of the World, and before the first sin was committed.
1 Peter 1: 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things like silver or gold that you have been ransomed from the worthless way of life handed down to you by your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of the Messiah, like that of a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 On the one hand, he was foreknown before the creation of the world, but on the other hand, he was revealed at the end of time for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope might be in God.
What about the injustice done TO God? His Son did no wrong, was sinless, yet He died, paying a horrific price for whom, and for what? Does He get reparation? Who can satisfy the huge cost of injustice done to Him?
Understanding that, I choose not to ask for reparation, but rather, ask His forgiveness for my choice to sin. I am not worthy but His mercy knows no bounds. Therefore, I choose to forgive all those that wronged my ancestors as well as me. I also ask forgiveness of those that I have sinned against.
Psalm 51: 1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your loving devotion; according to Your great compassion, blot out my transgressions. (BSB)
Colossians 3: 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do you.(MKJV)
I have no desire to offend anyone, only to cause you to think: Is it worth it to carry anger in your heart? Is it worth it to demand reparation? Is it worth it to live a bitter, rage filled life? When will you let go? When will it become more important for you to let go and let God? When will the forgiveness of God for others and yourself become more important than hatred and anger? When will you CHOOSE to recognize that everything is not about you?
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