Things are flared up in the United States and understandably so.
In this article, I’m going to do the only thing I know how to do and that is to repent to everyone who’s experienced the injustice of racism. I loathe injustice so much so that if I am reading a book at night that has injustice in it, I cannot go to sleep until it’s resolved.
Sleep is tough these days as the book of injustice is playing out before our eyes.
The killing of George Floyd is so incredibly sad. And in the aftermath, I’m hearing others tell their stories of racism. It seems there is no shortage of racism and while this country has made some progress since the days of slavery, we still have a very long way to go.
If you’ll stick with me on this one, my prayer is that this post will offer healing in some small way to those who’ve suffered…
So what is identification repentance anyway? Firstly, it’s amazingly healing.
Identificational repentance is when a person steps in on behalf of one who wronged someone else and repents. Why is this necessary? Well, for numerous reasons the person who did the wrong may not be willing or able to repent because:
- They could be dead
- They are not repentant
- It’s unsafe to contact that person in the case of abuse
However, just because the person who did the wrong is either unwilling or unable to repent doesn’t mean the person who was hurt doesn’t need healing.
When resentments fester, bad things happen.
Where there is no forgiveness there is no peace. One may read this and think identificational repentance can not be enough but trust me it’s a very powerful thing. And it’s a start. It’s a start in something which is a process.
I personally have not suffered the injustice of racism but I have suffered other injustices. The only way I was able to heal from some of the wounds of my past and become willing to try to forgive was through identification repentance.
Example of Identificational Repentance
Just this past weekend, I attended a spiritual workshop in which we held some ministry sessions. We were praying with a woman to aid in breaking off some lies that had been spoken over her many years ago in her childhood. She is an African American woman who had some very harsh words spoken over her by male deacons in her church when she was a child.
God only knows what happened to these deacons but that didn’t matter because this woman wanted to heal. Low and behold we had a male pastor in our midst and he stood in on behalf of these deacons and repented to this woman who cried and cried.
Next, the pastor and some of us spoke words of healing over her and called forth her true identity as the beautiful, strong, inspiring. and wise woman she is today.
We all basked in the afterglow of the healing. It was very emotional and incredibly powerful. Don’t underestimate the power of identificational repentance.
My Personal Story of Identificational Repentance
For anyone who’s read or heard my story, knows my father & I had a very strained relationship when I was a little girl. From experiencing his rage-filled temper growing up, I developed poor coping skills. I stuffed my rage. I escaped from that hurt little girl often in a bottle of booze, a line of crystal meth, and unfulfilling relationships with men.
As a matter of fact, I didn’t begin to understand how negatively I was affected by years of denying the source of my pain until I was 36 and got delivered from drug addiction. I’m 47 now and I can still say it’s a process.
When I lived at a ministry house in 2014-2015, I was able to participate in an identificational repentance session. One of my pastors stood in on behalf of my father (and other women witnessed) as I was able to vent all that I had pent up.
Afterward, the pastor repented on behalf of my father. It was all incredibly powerful. And at this point in my sobriety, I thought I had fully forgiven my dad but I discovered that there were remnants of unforgiveness still lingering on.
I released forgiveness to my dad through the blood of Jesus.
Well, the most amazing thing happened about two months later when I was driving home. My actual father called me up and gave me the most honest, heartfelt apology for not being the kind of dad that a girl needs. He repented for things he did and things he didn’t do and I cried and cried. I told him I forgave him, love him, and that it’s not too late.
My dad & I have a good relationship today.
That kind of happy ending may not always happen but one thing was clear to me that day. Once I released forgiveness in the spirit, it somehow freed my dad up enough to feel convicted to look at his own part.
The Most Powerful Example of Identificational Repentance
Several years ago, I was able to hear the story of Will Ford and Matt Locket. Will Ford is a descendent of slaves and goes around telling the story of a large kettle that has been passed down 7 generations. His ancestors used to pray under the kettle to muffle their voices so they wouldn’t be beaten by their masters.
Matt Locket and Will Ford met up and through divine intervention and became friends. After about 10 years of prayer and friendship, they discovered that Matt’s ancestors actually owned Will’s ancestors.
Yep, you read that right, Will’s forefathers were slaves to Matt’s forefathers.
Now, these two guys go around together telling of their story and how identificational repentance and forgiveness has healed them, their families, and generations to come. Without much more from me on this story, here’s a powerful video of these guys…
It’s one of the most beautiful stories. I find that it displays how relationships and understanding can heal us. Here is the book that Will Ford and Matt Locket wrote together:
My Repentance Now
Without any further stories, it’s time to get to the meat and purpose of this post.
I stand before my African American brothers and sisters and repent for all the hatred spewed at you, whispering behind your back, eyeballs rolling, ignorance enveloping, harsh words spoken, lies declared, stones thrown, bullets shot your way, punches intended to hurt, kicks with rage, lynching, senseless murders, and knees on your neck.
I’m so sorry that you were brought into this country as slaves against your will. And I’m sorry that still many, many years later, you experience the remnant of hatred which lingers on. I can only imagine how lonely it must feel to suffer these atrocities over and over and over again.
I’m on my knees in my prayer closet for racism to be eradicated once and for all in this country.
I will continue to identificationally repent to anyone of color who will allow me. Additionally, I vow to stand up to any acts of racism I witness. I will listen.
Please tell me how else I may be able to help.