Upending Anger

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.

Romans 12:14 (NLT)

I remember watching a video not too long ago of a police officer dragging a black girl out of her school desk and not knowing what story about the context to believe. I also remember feeling a strong sense of anger emanating from the student and from the officer. It marked the first moment of my awareness of the deeper issues we’re now facing today.

As a white male millennial, there are a lot of things you could assume about me. There are certain areas of life where I have experienced “white privilege” (if you call a lack of discrimination and being evenly and fairly considered among many options to be a “privilege”) and others where I’ve felt discriminated against. I’ve been discriminated against because of my height, my age, my beliefs, my poor financial status… usually not my race, but that doesn’t make the discrimination any less real.

All I know is that holding on to anger would have kept me stuck in a mess of insecurity, a mental and emotional prison, an unhealthy and stunted worldview. It’s for this reason that I want to share specific areas that I have chosen to forgive others so that I can be free to enjoy life and spread joy to others. These things I’m about to share may be real problems or they may be merely perceived by me. Either way, these are negative beliefs and experiences that I refuse to hold on to and I will also share areas where I am choosing to bless instead. This is what taking action on the issues of the day looks like for me. Maybe there will be another step after this, I don’t know. For now, let’s begin:

I Forgive White People

  • I FORGIVE any and all white people for knowingly or unknowingly exercising any level of privilege, real or imaginary, at the expense of other human beings instead of on the behalf of others
  • I FORGIVE any and all white people who deny that racism still exists today for not seeking to understand the world they live in and for not actively seeking to help those who are hurting
  • I FORGIVE any and all white people for any real or perceived attempts to drown out the voices reminding us that black lives matter by creating a cacophony of “all lives matter”
  • I FORGIVE any and all white people for being unnecessarily reactionary and unskillful in dealing with conflict and exercising humility

I Forgive Black People

  • I FORGIVE any and all black people who knowingly or unknowingly hold on to anger against white people for refusing to forgive me for the injustices of the past and present, and any injustices yet to happen, intended or unintended
  • I FORGIVE any and all black people who rail against all white people as being ‘privileged’ for not realizing that privilege doesn’t necessarily come to you because you are white but because you are affluent and for making unfair generalizations about me
  • I FORGIVE any and all black people who are equally as stubborn and naive as white people for not taking the time to walk a mile in my shoes and still have the audacity to point a finger of accusation

I Forgive Police Officers

  • I FORGIVE any and all police officers who have consciously or unconsciously allowed their prejudices to influence the way they treat black people in a manner that differs from the way they treat white people for not actively uprooting their unhealthy world views and presenting the best version of themselves possible

I Forgive The American Church

  • I FORGIVE the church for not always setting the best example of how to love people across generational and racial lines and for often serving to help divide rather than restore society
  • I FORGIVE the church for not emphasizing the necessity of forgiveness enough and demonstrating how to walk it out

I Forgive Angry and Defensive People

  • I FORGIVE any and all people who hate, argue, and disparage others for not listening to the heart cry of society today and for not being moved with compassion

BLESSINGS

I Bless White People

  • I BLESS white people with humility and joy so that they can discover the privilege and power of becoming the servants of all and establishing a standard of living that becomes other people’s floor rather than their ceiling
  • I BLESS white people with maturity and confidence to ask excellent questions and to become skilled listeners, especially when talking with people of unfamiliar backgrounds, upbringings, and persuasions
  • I BLESS white people with bravery to face criticism, however harsh, and still respond with love and honor

I Bless Black People

  • I BLESS black people with a double portion of grace and honor so that they can begin to rise up and initiate the greatest movement of healing and racial reconciliation the world has seen to date
  • I BLESS black people with abundant peace so that they can rest in the assurance that God doesn’t show partiality and His vindication is strong and complete
  • I BLESS black people with unquenchable endurance, an indomitable spirit, so that the world will know that the One who breathes life into mankind is powerful enough to sustain the people He loves

I Bless Police Officers

  • I BLESS police officers with the wisdom, strength, and love they need to serve and protect our citizens with dignity, honor, and respect
  • I BLESS police officers with insight to recognize situations and circumstances where they could be harboring potentially compromising beliefs
  • I BLESS police officers with divine action strategies to pursue personal development and foster goodwill in their communities

I Bless The American Church

  • I BLESS the church with an irresistible pull of the Spirit to make Jesus the starting and ending point of their conversations so that unity becomes the norm rather than the exception and so that they can lead the world as a light of hope in the midst of the darkness of division

I Bless All People

  • I BLESS humanity with the realization of the love of Christ, and the wisdom and understanding to apply it in everyday life
  • I BLESS humanity with heavenly keys to conflict so that people from all walks of life will be able to accurately express who they are and what they’re feeling and so that those listening will know how to interpret what they hear and understand things as they are intended and not as a different worldview or belief system may cause them to falsely appear
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