There is, and will continue to be, a lot of calls for “unity” and “moving on” in America today. None of which will be possible if we fail to acknowledge that there is a process.
First and always, seek God. I have long said that worship and prayer is the process by which we tune our selves to God. Like an old radio, the signal stays the same, but the reception tends to drift and occasionally we need to adjust. Any process that is not in tune with God is flawed by the static of selfish ambition and limited human perception.
Second, for unity to exist there must first be confession. Confession of sins, known and unknown, of hidden desires and motives. This may need to be preceded by a time of deep reflection, but that can be part of step one. Failure to acknowledge our own sinfulness puts up barriers between us and the rest of the world. Look at the Garden. Adam and Eve’s failure to appear before God and confess, which is not just a statement of events but an acceptance of responsibility, led to divisions between the two of them, the world, and God. This sinfulness leads us ultimately even to an inability to relate to our own self.
Once there is confession there must be consequences. We do not like this part. While forgiveness and grace cover the responsibility for sin, it does not absolve completely the results. If injury has been done, healing must take place. If insult, apology. If crime, then judgment. Trust must be restored by demonstration of honest intent. A drug addict does not become clean by simple confession of a habit. That person must remove the drugs, the associations, and the opportunity from their life. Effort must be made. If no effort is made, no real confession has taken place.
From confession and consequence, we can move to actual restoration and unity. That too is no simple process, but an ongoing commitment to the efforts. It involves transparency of motives on all sides. It involves honest efforts to understand the other, to address feelings before they become problems. It is founded on a basic willingness to trust those that once hurt us.
The sins, the collective and historical sins, of this country have been paying off for generations, but have come to a head in recent years. We must confess them and do the hard work of restoration and healing. Until we address the issues of systemic racism, social and economic inequality, and injustice we will never be what we want to be. Until we reject the systems and voices that profit off of division we will never be unified, we will never be whole, and the process of fragmentation will continue until we can no longer recognize our country.