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1/10/2021 Fulfilling the Law is LOVE (成全律法的是愛)

by Rev. Benjamin Chung (鍾立恆牧師)


We are starting a new year now. In America, we also always celebrate MLK Jr.’s birthday on the 3rd Monday of January. Growing up, I recall being taught about civil rights in the US. I assumed it was just common knowledge and that racism was evil. But then, protests and riots happened last year. And I heard many stories. One story was from an older White pastor whose family did not really look upon the holiday with much gladness. This made me wonder why, and then I recalled that this holiday has not been in existence for that long. They likely never celebrated it growing up like I did. In fact, the first time this holiday was observed was in 1986. So, in my context, it was “always” celebrated as I grew up according to my memory as 1986 was my first grade year.


This same pastor, who shared with me his family views, also discovered just last year that his family had owned a single slave. His family had been going through some old documents of his grandmother’s and they found an old receipt with a man’s name on it dating back 2 centuries ago. To him, it was horrifying to discover this news. He did not know what to make of this fact in his family’s history. Then, he was invited to participate in a march for justice the same week. Then the march’s facilitator invited all the pastors to speak. And so he did. He shared about what he discovered and apologize to those in the crowd on behalf of his family, for what they did.


Confession is so powerful, because it is the starting point to restoring a broken relationship. To me, what is even more interesting is how he is apologizing for a transgression that occurred generations ago, before he was even born! This was his loving act—the act that was needed for that time for the crowd, and for himself. Yes, slavery is a sin. And there are laws that have abolished it in the US. We have come a long way. However, this does not mean that racism has been removed, nor can it ever be fully. This is why we must see one another as brothers and sisters. This is why may pastors have broken down in tears to see that there are other pastors of different shades and backgrounds who say to them, “brother, I love you”. In some ways, it isn’t the “I love you” that shows the love, but actually referring to one another as brother. Either way, let our words and deeds show that we do love our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. In this way, we fulfill the law.


(Rom. 13:8 ESV) Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.


Translation:


我們現在開始新的一年。在美國,我們也總是在1 月第三個星期一慶祝馬丁路德金 (MLK Jr.) 的生日。在成長過程中,我回想起在美國學習有關公民權利的知識。我以為那只是常識,而種族主義是邪惡的。由於去年發生了抗議和騷亂,我聽了很多故事。其中一個故事來自一位年長的白人牧師,他的家人並沒有正視為高興的假期。這使我想知道為什麼,然後我回想起這個假期其實並不存在那麼久。他們可能從未像我一樣在長大過程中慶祝它。實際上,這個假期是在1986 年第一次出現。1986 年是我一年級的時候,在我成長的過程中,“總是”慶祝” 這假期。


這位與我分享他家庭觀點的牧師也於去年發現他的家族歷史中曾擁有一個奴隸。他的家人在瀏覽祖母的一些舊文件,他們發現了一張古老的收據,上面有一個男人的名字,可以追溯到兩個世紀前。對他來說,發現這一消息真是令人震驚。他不知道該如何處理這家族的歷史。然後,在同一星期內,他被邀請參加一個為正義而舉辦的遊行。然後遊行的主持人邀請所有牧師講話。而他也有參與講話,分享了自己的發現,並代表家人向人群中的人致歉。


這懺悔是如此的帶有能力,因為它是恢復破裂關係的起點。對我來說,更有趣的是他為幾代人甚至他出生之前的罪而道歉!這是他的至愛之舉,是當時遊行的人群和他自己所需要的。是的,奴隸制是一種罪過。在美國,有法律廢除了它。我們已經走了很長一段路。但是,這並不意味著種族主義已經消除,也永遠不會完全被消除。這就是為什麼我們必須將彼此視為兄弟姐妹。這就是為什麼很多牧師們哭了起來,因看到還有其他背景不同的牧師對他們說:弟兄,我愛你”。從某種意義上說,不是那一句”我愛你”表示愛,而是因我們彼此稱為兄弟。無論哪種方式,讓我們的言行表明我們確實愛我們基督內的弟兄姐妹。通過這種方式,我們成全了法律的要求。


「凡事都不可虧欠人,惟有彼此相愛要常以為虧欠,因為愛人的就完全了律法。」 羅馬書 13:8


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