Sins Of Our Ancestors

Lord, we confess our wickedness and that of our ancestors, too. We all have sinned against you. (Jeremiah 14:20)

Read: Jeremiah 14:11-16:15, 1 Thessalonians 2:9-3:13, Psalm 80:1-19, Proverbs 25:1-5 

Relate: This Sunday, I will be gathering for worship with believers from all over the world. Many are local Turks and refugees from Syria and Iraq. Some others are internally displaced Kurds who have fled their homes and cities further east. In addition to this there will be university students studying here who have come from dozens of different nations in Africa.

Some of the countries and cultures that are represented in my believing community are sometimes doing OK and sometimes not. Other countries have been nothing short of chaos and strife all the way back to their founding. There are many reasons for the permanent or occasional strife these people groups experience and I do not want to oversimplify their social problems, but for at least two of the biggest factors, the blame can be laid directly at the Western World’s doorstep. We destroyed many of the early cultures and societies in our greed for slaves or exploitable resources and later on we created nations from our colonies when those colonies were no longer profitable. These nations we created were built off the borders of earlier colonies or spheres of influence and gave little to no thought to local cultures, languages, and geography. These are just two of the many sins of our ancestors for which we are still experiencing the effects today.

React: When the scroll of the Law was found in Josiah’s time, the people repented of their own sins and also the sins of their ancestors. In our reading today Jeremiah prophesies that a time will come when a righteous people repent of their own sins as well as the sins of their ancestors. When the seventy years of exile had come to an end, Daniel prayers a prayer of repentance for the sins of his ancestors. These three godly men recognized a truth that we would much rather ignore today: As long as the effects of a cultural sin are passed down from one generation to the next, the guilt for that sin also remains. I never owned slaves and I would like to believe I don’t have a racist bone in my body, but as long as the effects of slavery and Jim Crow racism continue to afflict us today, I am still responsible to be about making restitution. I must repent for the sins of my ancestors and that involves more than just prayer.


Dear God,
Make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console. To be understood as to understand. To be loved as to love others. For it is in giving that I receive. It is in pardoning that I am forgiven. It is in dying that I am born to eternal life.


15 thoughts on “Sins Of Our Ancestors

  1. America was founded as a Christian nation.

    In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, etc.

    Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

    In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, 1620.

    That’s not to say that America hasn’t lost her way and purpose and needs to repent and return to God.

    • The nation was indeed founded as a Christian nation but they also used that same Christian faith and Bible to justify the horribly act of slave and taught the slaves through the bible it was the slave’s righteous duty to submit to their white slave masters. So it was a perverted faith.

  2. They were indeed Christians but they used their Christian faith to justify slavery. They also used the Word of God to teach the slaves it was their righteous duty to submit to their white slave masters. So it was a corrupted form of Christianity that perverted the truth. That may well explain after all these centuries why so many white Christians cannot undo the foundational lie their heritage is built on. This writer seems to have explored his roots and found the truth of the gospel. I pray others will do the same. That would be the change this nation needs. I discussed similar issues in my book, “Christianity and Ethnicity: Is Christ Concerned About Race?” Those Christians descendants, who as a matter of practice have exploited the weak through the centuries, should read Rev. 6:10. But Christ yet forgives.

    • The Native Americans, i.e., the Indians had slaves and were not white. What of them? Do they get a free pass because they were not white?

      • The Word declares to whom much is given much is required. Those who profess Christ and have enjoyed the benefits and knowledge of that faith have the greater responsibility to do the good that they know to do (Jas. 4:17). The Indians were not Christians. The truth is that when any Christian comes to the knowledge of their sins (past or present) they ought to confess according to 1 Jo 1:9. The Lord has taken me through a lot of past history including generational issues to set me free in my spirit and soul. That is why I know it is a necessary part of our Christian experience. Those who do not go through this process carry unnecessary baggage with them. We see the results of it in today’s racial strife. Christ is the way out.

        • When the Holy Spirit brings something to mind that needs dealt with then it is in one’s best interest to deal with the matter and obey. However, to allow someone to put a guilt trip on you for a perceived wrongdoing is both wrong and borders on witchcraft.

          1Co 4:4 — 1Co 4:5
          For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

  3. Tony,
    The Holy Spirit does indeed bring conviction. My comments were in line with the topic of this blogs and will hopefully reach the hearts that can receive it. The nation is surely being dealt with by the Spirit of God to consider it’s past sins. It is an important time to reach the hearts of America to heal the nation. It takes a lifetime for God to prepare us for heaven and His mercy does not deal with every sin at once. What some may be able and ready to hear others may not. God directs. My words were directed to the broader audience, no one in specific. I read one of your blogs, admire your gifting and bid you well.

    • Agreed. The Lord is dealing with us individually and as a nation. The Lord is dealing with past sins as well as current sins. One thing that all believers need to take into account is that the judgement of the nation’s will begin with the judgement of the church. Some do not get a lifetime to prepare for heaven but only a moment. God knows all hearts. Judgement comes so that His wrath does not have to. Judgement indeed is coming and believers need to pray for the Lord’s protection for what lies ahead.

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