Sunday, June 3, 2012

Generational Guilt

There is a guilt that seems to transcend generations in such a way that one people blames another for sins committed by their ancestors. Sometimes that guilt is accepted and we pay penance for something we did not do. There are Germans who feel the guilt of Hitler’s sin even though they personally had nothing to do with it.

Another past sin is that of slavery where one color of people holds another responsible for it. While the sin was real for the time of commitment it is not real for generations later. Yet the power of these generational guilt trips is still gripping people’s souls. There is no forgiveness and no release. How do we heal the pain that is passed down through the years?

I was amazed when South Africa suddenly changed governments and an unexpected thing happened. Largely due to Nelson Mandela’s leadership the whole country worked through the hate and distrust on both sides. The past was past and they needed to overcome centuries of conflict. Truth and Reconciliation commissions faced the truth head on, admitted it and forgave it.  What a concept! It sounds a lot like the message that which Jesus preached.

Some how we all need to take this message to heart.

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