I came across an article today, entitled “Committee Recommends Changing Name Of Abraham Lincoln High School Because He Allegedly Didn’t Prove Black Lives Matter”. I don’t usually venture into the social/racial sphere of things, but when I read this, something snapped in me and I knew I had to take to the keyboard.
The article’s second paragraph says, “Lincoln is among dozens of figures who the school district renaming committee argues led a life filled with racism and therefore shouldn’t be on a school building, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.”
When I read that, I was struck by something, a realization, a fascinating realization. This realization is what I’m going to share with you today.
We’ve All Sinned
Racism is wrong. It’s sin. It’s hating another and there’s nothing redeemable about it. But here’s the thing, humanity is flawed and full of sinners who sin. In fact, Bibilically, “All have sinned and some short of the glory of God.” What’s in us comes naturally out of us—sin, in all forms. That’s the reason for the cross, the reason for Jesus.
Tell me one person who has never sinned…never thought a dirty thought, never lied, never hated anyone, never stolen, never coveted, never yelled or argued with someone. Can you?
As hard and humbling as it is, simply look at yourself. Is there anyone among us who hasn’t lied, cheated, hated, stolen… should I keep going?
It takes humility to acknowledge that every single one of us is guilty of something, every single one.
Which brings me to this article and my realization.
All Historical Figures Have Sinned
I’m fascinated by this because it’s as if society has established that there are forgivable sins and unforgivable sins. Sins that can be overlooked and sins that can never been forgotten or redeemed. Notice this statement “life filled with racism”. Lincoln deserves to be erased or at least removed from a position of honor because of a perceived life of sin—the sin of racism.
If society decides that one historical figure doesn’t deserve honor because of his sins, to be consistent, we must choose to apply this standard to every historical figure, no matter the sin. What of lying? Cheating? Anger? Fornication? Adultery? The list could go on an on and no one could, in good faith, contend that a single historical figure was sinless.
We Must Look At Ourselves As Well
Modern society passes judgement on historical figures of the past while refusing to look at their own lives and their own sins.
Sin is a hard word, but it’s a word we must reckon with. As a society, we undercut the legitimacy of our ”righteousness” when we choose to punish some sin and some individuals while refusing to acknowledge the reality that EVERY SINGLE historical figure has sinned one way or another.
The argument that some sins are worse than others is an invalid since it’s based upon perception and opinion. It doesn’t stand against the solid fact that sin is sin—no matter the perception of its extremity.
We cannot, as a society, become so self-righteous that we refuse to be convicted by our own conscience. Collectively and individually, we learn from our past mistakes, our past sins. How does erasing those sins, and the individuals who committed them, help us to avoid recommitting them? How can we call out some sins while ignoring others?
Behaving in this way is leading this country to a rapid and painful destruction. We cannot judge the past for its sins without facing the sins of the present and the future. We cannot erase history without repeating history.
How can we call out one individual’s life of sin without acknowledging that every single individual, past, present and future, have sinned. We must apply the same standard to all.
“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone”. John 8:7
The Liberty Belle