The Forgiveness Feud

Can we celebrate our diversity and heal our differences?

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It’s interesting to read articles which asked the very question surrounding forgiveness. Should Governor Northam be forgiven for his past mistakes. I am a black woman, a mother, and an abuse survivor and I believe that Governor Northam’s apology should be accepted. *

The growing concern around Mark Herring and others coming forward with their own storied of past mistakes can be the catylist for an honest dialogue around race, white privilege and power. My position still stands and redemption is something that one can work out personally with their faith, values, integrity and the legacy that they would like to leave behind.

The reason why I say this is because it appears the political climate has incited a vengeful spirit that seeks payback for not being heard, seen or treated with dignity and respect. It’s this idea that the wronged are the only ones who are right. If we begin to cast out forgiveness and second chances, what is the unspoken message disseminated to the masses?

The message is one that says, healing is not an option, rehabilitation is a myth and to think that one can recover from a fall or horrible mistake is a farce. To call for Governor Northam’s resignation is a call to deny all the human experience. Desmond Tutu says Ubuntu- I am because we are- connected by our humanity. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s quote supports Desmond’s understanding; “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”.   

I wonder, when will we stop imprisoning each other by our fears, lies, and unforgiveness? How can we become beacons of hope to only the harmed and not the ones who committed the harm? How will those who do wrong experience space to receive confidence to do the work and change for the better if we indict and convict with a biased jury? Are we to undo the good that was done by the Governor because of a horrific mindset that he may have once held? I believe that we are missing some incredible teaching moments that can shape societal behavior.

The unspoken message carries with it a dangerous thread that promotes suffering in silence, not seeking help when an injustice is committed, and ultimately believing that the trajectory of one’s life becomes tarnished by a moment in time. Harboring hate, and dismissing the good over a bad decision that a person makes is a narrative I seek to change. To say that Northam can make amends once he resigns is opposite of what the late Dr. MLK Jr lived according to his quote: Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. The first step as I believe it, experience it and offer it is forgiveness.

Can we meet in a place where we are both right, wronged and wrong; a place in the middle where together we can find a path forward? (Quote from The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu and his daughter, MPHO Tutu).

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