Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Forgiveness: What is it?
As many of you know, or don’t know, I am a lover of History. I hate dates, but I love the stories. Stories of Great Leaders like Napoleon or Hannibal from the Punic wars, even the great Spartans who fought and died for their country fill the pages of history. Yet you can not read far without running into the atrocities of man. The Bible states that we can not even imagine the thoughts of the wicked man. It is so true and apparent in history.
Where do we start: Holocaust, Apartheid, Punic Wars... It is very saddening to see that as humans we continue to fall to the same issues.
I recently have watch 2 great movies, by accident, that show the nature of evil in a clear way. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee”. This was a HBO film that I saw by accident at a hotel a few weeks ago. The movie starts just after the defeat of General Custer. It is the story of a young Indian boy who is ‘Americanized’ and helps to build the dream of land and reservations, only to realize how much was being taken from the Indians. They gave them a land for a few years then would move them, and then a few years later move them again. Any who refused to go were hunted down as criminals. This is what caused Indians to take up arms. Many of them were just fighting to be left alone. Grant it there are 2 sides of the story, and I can tell you stories of my ancestors who were murdered due to their race by the Indians. Yet how do the 2 races become reconciled?
The latest movie is ‘Country of my Skull’. The movie stars Samuel Jackson, so you can imagine that it isn’t the cleanest in language but tells a true and vivid story. This movie is about the South African murder of families, women and children by the ‘British’ Afrikaans’s government who were supposed to be protecting them.
Both stories portray a chasm that is built by one hurt, after another, and another. But the picture I wish to show is not the hate, the evil, but the Forgiveness of a child.
This forgiveness was shown in ‘Country of my Skull’. An officer in the murders is speaking at the Reconciliation Commission (The last chance before the trial to show sorrow and thus gain the sympathy of the court). The accused were sitting in front of the accusers. In this case it was a small boy who hadn’t spoke since watching his parents killed by this officer who was following orders.
The officer explained in tears his sorrow and regret and upon saying all he could say, kneeled before this boy. The boy looked as though he could spit on the man, but then he leaned forward and hugged him.
After all this man had done personally to hurt this young boy, he was forgiven. We still have not been able to reconcile our races with the Indians and American, or even the Afrikaans and the government of the country. Yet with out any difficulty this young boy can forgive. Why is it that we as adults wish to hold grudges and never let things go?
Yet no matter what we have done the ultimate forgiveness is available from Jesus. If only we were all truly trying to be like Christ and being the examples we are suppose to be, we could change the world with our show of Forgiveness and reconciliation.
God, Please forgive us for our sins and the sins of our races. Help us to find our true reconciliation in you.