The shadow of empire

Like her or not, the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is certainly momentous. Anyone living through the past nine decades was witness to a lot of changes. Many admired the Queen for her steadiness in the face of upheaval and her commitment to tradition despite the rapid march of modernity. To others,  being a figurehead is not enough – monarchs need to be busy reigning.

Although America fought a war so they no longer have to care about monarchs, the social justice warriors came out to make sure everyone knew they, at least, were happy to see her go. They seem to see in her death a reckoning for the killing and pillaging that colonization by the British Empire wrought over hundreds of years. One Tiktoker even blamed colonizers for her obesity. And those microaggressions though!

The crimes of empire are an undeniable part of human history. Rummage long enough in any nation’s past and you’ll find something to be disturbed about. But in our strange time, where history is measured against the latest woke ideal, the sins of the past are dragged into the present then dissected in order to find someone to blame.

But who gets to quantify the damage done? Currently the whims of the zeitgeist dictate who is a victim and who is a perpetrator. When God is not honored as the giver of the Law, this can change with any preachy op-ed or influential Twitter thread. The cruel result of a subjective standard, however is that no one reaches a place of peace. The conquered, no matter how many generations removed, will never accept an apology. And those who feel the weight of their privilege, no matter how unearned will be ever trying to atone. 

A recent piece written for The Atlantic documents white South Africans who wish they were punished for color of their skin. They cannot accept that victims of apartheid would actually forgive them. One man quoted at the end says “It is infinitely worse to receive than to give, especially if … the gift is mercy.” 

Perhaps that is the key. It is the merciful who receive mercy. They are the ones whose spirit is crushed over their own unworthiness but know that for every sin, they have received grace. Whether they be mighty or small, they know that they don’t deserve mercy – it is a gift.

This modern milieu with its hierarchy of oppression, identify grifters and self-appointed arbiters of goodness has helped no one. It distracts the proud from the chance to be humbled and robs the broken-hearted of the assurance of forgiveness. May God bring every godless ideology to an end – every sinner be called to repent and be forgiven – from the greatest to the least, through the preaching of his Truth. All wreaths of empire will be cast before the true King when every tribe and tongue, confess together that he is Lord.  It will be glorious. Alleluia.

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