Monday, November 8, 2010

Righteous Unforgiveness

Our planet is in great trouble and if we keep carrying old grudges and do not work together, we will all die.

Before you read any further, guess who said that. Was it said by a Democrat after the recent election? A peacemaker in the Middle East? Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth? Any other guesses?

Give up? It was Chief Seattle. Have you ever noticed how some of the greatest advocates for forgiveness are among those who have the greatest reasons to remain bitter?

The Amish community forgave the man who came into one of their schoolhouses and shot ten little girls, killing five of them. (From the Ashes)

Nelson Mandela forgave his jailers and healed his country through truth and reconciliation.

Six year old Ruby Bridges prayed for God to forgive the screaming throngs hurling racist threats at her as she walked into her newly integrated school. (The F Word)

There are many stories of Holocaust survivors who refused to hate, of POWs from Vietnam who went back and met with their captors, of victims of horrific crimes who forgave the perpetrators.

And then there’s me. When I was a girl, I was playing ball one day with the neighbor’s children in their front yard. I believed one of the kids was cheating and I called him out. His siblings came to his defense and the shouting quickly escalated. I was relieved when my mom came outside to see what the fuss was about, certain she would take my side. Instead, she suggested that I apologize and that we go on with our game. When I refused, she issued an ultimatum – either I would apologize, or I could never play with these kids again.

I had only one sibling, and she was older by too many years to be a playmate for me, so my social life depended on the kids in the neighborhood. Nevertheless, without a moment’s hesitation, I stood my self-righteous ground ... and I never played with, or even spoke to, any of those kids again.

I mean really. I just shake my head when I think about it after all these years. And yet, if I think a little more, I bet I can come up with some folks that I am holding a grudge against right now in righteous unforgiveness. What about you – can you think of anyone? Is it worth it?

Let no man pull you so low as to make you hate him. –Booker T. Washington

1 comment:

  1. Excellent and challenging post. There are incidents that I haven't truly let go of yet, but the relationship continues. However, the carpet we are dancing on is awfully lumpy...


Your comment is valuable and valued. Comment moderation is enabled to block spam, so please excuse the brief delay until your comment appears on the blog.