An old man told me once, “You can’t fight a battle from a place of trauma.”
To go back and unravel a history that spans even a short 250 or so years is a huge task. Then to weigh the wrongs and rights in the scales of justice would keep us preoccupied for many generations to come.
The complexity and the scale of it can be understood by thinking honestly about your own personal life. If you went back through your life and tried to make recompense or retribution for every time you have wronged someone or been wronged by someone, that in itself would take a lifetime. Now multiply that by millions over multiple generations.
The process of reconciliation, or the ministry of reconciliation, has been demonstrated by Jesus in a lot less complexity – with a lot more power. First, we need to forgive – then healing can happen. Then, by the power of His Spirit, we can love one another. Through the work of the Cross, becoming the mediator that could ensure that mercy is shown and the demands of justice are met, Christ showed the true ministry of reconciliation. This ministry has become the Church’s responsibility, which is actually the evidence of the working of His Spirit: “that you love one another.”
Acknowledging that we don’t have the ability to close the gap, forgiving those who have been part of causing the gap and closing it by loving one another: three steps that might be easy to say, but may be the most monumental exercise we will ever attempt.
As Aboriginal Christians, we are asked to forgive acknowledged wrongs from the past that affect us even to the present. Generations of disempowerment, disenfranchisement, oppression, disadvantage and genocide.
It is massive, almost overwhelming, but in the light of Matt. 6:14, “If you forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Forgiveness of past wrongs is the only reason anyone belongs. The healing that this forgiveness allows brings to light the question, how do you demonstrate the love of God to your Aboriginal brother or sister?
You love them, like you love Christ that forgave you. Not just in word, but in deed. Tell me what this looks like for you. Better yet, show me.
Like Jesus said, “How you treat the least of my brethren is how you treat me.”
Kyle Slabb, NSW