When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:3)
Here in Matthew, Judas has accepted money in return for his betrayal of Jesus, his master, friend and savior. The good news is that once he realizes the true depth of what he has done, and that his actions would lead to the certain death of his beloved Jesus, he was overcome with feelings of genuine guilt and great remorse. He was sorry for what he’d done. To no avail, he tried to turn it around by offering to give the money back. Ultimately, his guilt and remorse led him to kill himself.
As I read this verse and definition of repentance, as a black person, my mind cannot help but turn to the subject of racism and the idea that America needs to repent of racism. The continuing racism in this country has its roots in a financial decision, much like the decision that Judas made to accept money in turn for his betrayal of Jesus. America’s founders used kidnapped Africans as a resource to build this nation and expand the wealth of its founders and their descendants.
Policies that systemically and purposefully inhibit the growth of black people continue today. We need repentance. Whites need to acknowledge the issue and openly admit that it was/is wrong. They must lean into it with empathy and feel true remorse for what has happened at the hand of their ancestors. White people must also unite along with blacks to change the direction and the narrative. Alas, white Christians need to act more Christian than white.
Prayer: My Father in heaven, I am thankful that of late, many white people have been awakened to the plight of black people in America. I pray that this movement continues and that more people are able to truly repent and to be willing to participate in actionable ways to change the narrative. I pray that ALL Christians continue to aspire to truly be like Christ; loving, accepting, merciful and uplifting of the downtrodden. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN.