Given by Rev. Madison Shockley September 26, 2021

War is devastating for those involved. The U.S. is fortunate to have had only one major war on its soil, the Civil War. On January 6th, a different kind of war impacted us, the Culture War. Dr. Donald Schneider wrote An Ethic for Enemies where he talks about forgiveness in politics. He starts with Ancient Greeks and continues until present day. Schneider helps us understand how nations/communities can come back together after a war or conflict.  He speaks to how they can move forward. Forgiveness is a tool for social justice. In Jesus’s prayer, we are taught to ask for forgiveness. This is conditional on our forgiving others. Forgiveness is accomplished through relationships. We seek forgiveness together as a whole community. Also in the prayer, we are asking for the Empire of God to come. This is also conditional on our ability to forgive others. Forgiveness must begin with people forgiving each other before they can hope to receive forgiveness by God. Our Culture War might lead us to a civil war if we do not change its direction. The world needs forgiveness if we are to thrive.  We must resist our first instinct for vengeance. This only breeds more vengeance. We also cannot just forgive. We must combine forgiveness with justice. Both sides must see that their future is possible together. Only then can we live as God’s people.