Daily Connector | Part I: Repent. Repair. | Brent Miller

Our worship theme for Lent is “Repent. Repair.” The word REPENT, as defined by Merriam-Webster is “to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life.” Definition 2 (a) reads, “to feel regret or contrition.”

I am a REALTOR® and I am here for the repentance.

I “feel regret and contrition” for the role that my chosen industry has played (is playing) in systematically keeping our thumbs pressed firmly down on certain populations. Many REALTORS® would say that they just operate their business within the system that is laid out for them. We in the industry have become skilled at justifying behavior by proclaiming that we are just “small business-people trying to put food on the table.” We are “just doing what is in the best interest of our clients” and are doing so within the constraints of the law. We invoke the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, the real estate industry’s Canon of ethics, and federal/state/local law as our guiding principles. As long as we aren’t breaking those, we are “in the clear.”

This attitude frustrates me. The revised code, the Canon of Ethics, and the Code of Ethics should represent the very MINIMUM of our responsibility and action - the lowest level starting point - rather than the highest that we aspire to.  

The industry HAS come a long way in the last 5 or 6 decades, but we have a LONG way to go. It is clear that the real estate industry (brokers, mortgage companies, appraisers) has operated in a larger, racist and unfair system but that does not absolve us of responsibility for doing the right, just thing. The very fact that there needs to be laws, canons, and codes speaks to that (and I will address that in another Connector).

As we speak of reparations and repentance throughout Lent, I caution CMC against falling into the trap of believing that reparations and repentance needs to happen for things in the past. These activities are alive and well and ugly. I’ve signed up to write a few more Connectors over the next month and hope to continue the discussion of where we still need to make progress.