This month the Impact Community is doing a series called “Conversations.” It is series designed to foster better relationships between the mainstream white evangelical church and four different marginalized people groups. Each week will include an apology letter from the church to that community.

This week we discussed other religious communities. This is our apology.

Dear People of Other Faith Communities,

I’m sorry.

I know it’s not every day you hear those words from me.

But that’s where I wanted to start.

I’m sorry.

I am sorry that I too often confuse who you are as a person with certain beliefs or traditions of your religion. I have too often equated your humanity with your doctrine or practices, and sometimes not even accurate understandings of those things. In doing so, I have treated you less than human.

I am sorry that I have held to my convictions in a way that has forfeited true dialogue with you. Rather than engaging in meaningful conversation, I have simply been afraid. By doing this, I perpetuated the isolation and division of our tribes.

But there is more.  I have confused God’s revelation with my own cleverness. Too often I have elevated myself to a position that belongs solely to God. Instead of being a grateful recipient of grace, I have acted as if truth originates with me. In doing so, I have put myself above you.

I am sorry that I have confused an act of love with an act of war. I have taken what God intended to be “good news for all people” and turned it into “reasons why I am right and you are wrong.” What God intended to be a healing balm, I turned into a battle axe. In doing so, I have treated you as my greatest enemy rather than a fellow beggar looking for bread.

I do not want to minimize your beliefs or mine by saying something sappy like “our religions are the same.” We both know that our faiths have some important differences as well as similarities.  But those differences are no reason to minimize who you are as a person – God’s image-bearer.

For this I am sorry.  I’m sorry. You deserve better.  Jesus’ name deserves better.

Please forgive me,

Signed- The Church

(Letter by Jim Vining and Sarah DePriest)