Flag raising, smoking ceremonies and cultural dance performances; art exhibitions; walks, runs, and jogs; take your pick as to how you want to celebrate reconciliation this National Sorry Day.
For Australia, May 26 is a day on which we acknowledge and recognise the Stolen Generation, where Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families between 1910 and 1970 as a result of government policies.
It is also a day where we make deliberate steps towards a future that embraces all Australians.
We work together towards peace, reconciliation, and forgiveness.
In thinking about the tragedies some Indigenous people faced —families hurt as children were removed from the arms of their parents— we might wonder how these families could forgive.
That is why we have a whole week dedicated to reconciliation every year.
Deep down some might feel like the culprits don't deserve forgiveness, and we should not even be so bold as to ask for it on their behalf.
That is how we feel sometimes about our own dishonourable actions. In taking a look at our lives and some of the things we have done, we might feel undeserving of forgiveness.
We might do nice things and try to be better people to make up for our mistakes, but deep down we feel our actions will always burden us and define us. We will have to work our entire life to compensate the damage we have made and the pain we have caused, and even that might not be enough.
What we don't know is that we can receive forgiveness right now— completely free of charge.
Jesus has already paid the ultimate price for our actions by sacrificing His life, and He did it so we no longer have to be imprisoned by guilt or shame but can live a life completely free.
All we have to do is accept by faith that His sacrifice has paid the price in full for our rebellion against God, and we are not just forgiven— we are made brand new. God even tells us in the Bible He "remembers our sins no more".
Forgiveness sometimes feels undeserved and impossible to truly achieve, but God goes beyond that. He doesn't just forgive what we have done; He forgets it completely. We can start afresh completely delivered from our past— no matter how shameful we think it might be. •