Posted by Unknown |


The saying sorry thing (like saying sorry to Aboriginies) is something I have been thinking about. Or I did think about it once. I used to be in the "Don't say sorry you didn't do it" camp. Which makes sense to me. I understand why saying sorry for someone else's sins seems a little silly. But we had a discussion about it at college and somehow during the discussion I managed to change my mind. Now I'm a "Sorry" guy. At least for Christians.

I think we are a little to individualistic in our thinking. We have a view that if I didn't do it, then I have no responsibility for it. But within the Bible we see a much less individualistic view. If one person sins, the whole family suffers. Often times the whole nation of Israel will come before the Lord in repentance. Not because they were all sinning, but they acknowlege that as a community they are responsible for each person.

Later Paul writes about the body of Christ being one, if one part mourns the whole body mourns with it. If one part rejoices the whole body rejoices with it. If one part suffers, every part suffers. I guess there is this idea that being joined in Christ we all have joint ownership of the experiences of each part. The reason that sin needs to be so diligently kept out of the church is because it doesn't affect just the individual but the whole community.

That being the case, if the church is responsible for sin, then as the church we should repent. I myself may not indulge in many of the injustices perpetrated by God's people over time, but I am still part of that people. For corporate sin (that's the sin of a group of people, rather than a sin of big corporations) to be allowed to continue all it needs is for everyone to say, "I'm not doing it, it's someone else".

So I guess as a Church we should apologise for the sins of our forefathers, because they are still a part of the body of which I am a part. I hope too that those that come after me will apologise for the injustices that I am unknowingly or knowingly a participant in. Perhaps in one generation we can't change the world, reconciliation through repentance may not be attainable, but a joint responsibility across time will mean that maybe we can get somewhere repairing the hurts of the past, and avoiding making the same mistakes in the future.