Thoughts & Thangs

The Holders of Forgiveness

2020 is feeling like the start from hell tbh. Between the myriad of natural disasters, plane crashes, coronavirus and loss of many loved ones, it’s hella rough. So before I dive into my random, remember to treat pain with tenderness.

In the midst of seeing so many mourn the loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and the other people that died yesterday, there were people using this time to bring up Kobe’s rape case. For the youngin’ who may not know and those that have forgotten, back in 2003, the basketball phenom had a sexual assault case brought against him. I won’t go into details, (google it if you care).

The whole thing just made brought questions to mind which I will share. We often teach little children to learn to forgive others even when they hurt us. We say “let bygones be bygones,” or “forgive and forget”. We call people petty for holding onto seemingly small grudges. So I ask, what makes a grievance against us petty? Which offenses are okay to forgive and if we truly have forgiven does that mean we have forgotten? If we haven’t forgotten (because who could forget being taken advantage of and sexually assaulted or a family member being killed) but we have forgiven, is it clear in our actions?

Countless times on the news you see black families hugging or saying they forgive the criminals for what they have done.

More questions. Does a person get forgiven if they serve time in prison and the amount of time we deem enough for their crime? Hmm, no. We see that in the Western world, society is not forgiving to those that serve time. With their new labels (convicted felon), many job opportunities are lost and some cannot get housing. So, with little to no job prospects and likely nowhere to stay, have you been forgiven when society won’t let you move past what you’ve done?

The charges were dropped against Kobe Bryant in the case. The accuser didn’t want to testify. He released a statement, they had an out of court settlement etc… So some feel like justice was not fully served. Other lesser known black men in his shoes would have likely gotten the book thrown at them. If it were a white man…we know how that go.

Are you forgiven if you have other meaningful skills and talents that benefit people? I.e. musicians, athletes, celebrities, pastors who stepped out on their wives or molested children (cue outstanding member of community line). Are you worthy of forgiveness if despite the “one thing” you did wrong, you have a mountain of good things that redeems you? You only steal from the rich to help the poor so the poor people love you. The drug dealers that help out and support their communities while simultaneously contribute to its demise.

Is there an expiration date on the wrongdoings we’ve committed whereby the person that was wronged who says they have forgiven can no longer bring up that past incident? Is there a statute of limitations on forgiveness: you will be forgiven if the crime/incident happened 50 years or more ago (depending on the crime). When someone dies, will the owners of the dog they hit as a teen say “good riddance”?

I don’t have many answers. I do know that the Christian Bible teaches us to forgive “70 times seven times”. It also says we should forgive that we may be forgiven. There’s also that whole turn the other cheek stuff. But I know not everyone believes or follows those ideas.

What I do hope, is that when it’s my time to die, all those I may have hurt (and since expressed sincere apologies for) don’t take that moment of grief of those that mourn my departure, and remind others of my failures, my wrongs, my shortcomings.

I know, I know. We are all entitled to our feelings about matters of public attention. Sometimes we’re more upset than our friends when they’re the ones who was wronged! We can say what we want when we want and people can feel how they feel about it. It just feels like the trial by public never dies.

The human experience is complicated. Two things can be true: Victims may find solace and relief in the deaths of their perpetrators while others mourn them.

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