Today’s readings highlight the complicated relationship involving grace, mercy, and forgiveness. However, deeply embedded within this relationship—and, therefore, often hidden—is the role of accountability. Together, these acts provide much-needed direction and guide us to strengthen our relationship with God, as well as with each other, while working together to create a more equitable society.
Those who engage in the fight for justice are responding to a calling that, although universal, remains unrecognized by many. While fulfilling, this calling can also be emotionally draining and leave us with a profound sense of hopelessness. However, we cannot allow our current circumstances to diminish our level of perseverance. Rather, they must compel us to be even more vigilant!
We do this by continuing to serve, as examples for and providing guidance to those contemplating involvement, rather than turning our backs in frustration. For, isn’t this the way God treats us? With infinite grace and mercy, He embraces and forgives us, and expects us to do the same for each other.
However, we are all created in God’s image and likeness. Therefore, He expects us to govern ourselves accordingly. Just as we are held accountable by God, to be the best version of ourselves, so must we also hold each other accountable. Forgiveness is not an invitation to become complacent nor remain complicit. It represents the provision of a clean slate and new opportunities to both do better and be better on our individual journeys. Ironically, freedom is never free. When we find ourselves in fiery furnaces, which represent the consequences of our decisions to challenge the status quo, we must have faith in God’s promises and remain hopeful for a better day.
During this Lenten season, may we repent, reflect, and renew our commitment to speaking-up, standing-up, and showing-up for justice and liberation.
- How are you being held accountable in your relationship with God during this Lenten season?
- How can you hold others accountable in the shared work for justice and liberation?
Dr. Nathan J. Sessoms is the Principal & CEO of Success Beyond Measure, Incorporated, a Diversity & Educational Equity consulting firm that provides support to community-based and non-profit organizations, for-profit entities, and academic institutions interested in combatting systemic racism and creating equitable outcomes for all.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he has conducted research on race relations at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, contributed to several National Science Foundation-funded reports, and published in several peer-reviewed journals, including Urban Geography, The Professional Geographer, and Kalfou.
Dr. Sessoms is the former director of the Office of Black Student Services at Loyola Marymount University, where he also worked closely with the University’s Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Jewish, Muslim, and LGBTQIA Communities, while assisting the campus community in navigating the realities of race and racism. He continues to serve as an adjunct professor in LMU’s Department of Sociology.