Saturday, May 24, 2008
ABC 20/20: Show on forgiveness, almost Biblical
ABC 20/20 last night covered three major stories of personal “forgiveness.” This sounds like the spiritual command (“turn the other cheek”) in the New Testament, but the stories carried a secular lesson: forgiveness does not mean forgetting, it means settlement. It reminds me of the theme of the Joe Wright film “Atonement.”
The most compelling story concerns an African American, Dewayne McKinney, who built an ATM business in Hawaii after being released from a California penitentiary after serving twenty years for a murder that he did not commit. He had grown up in south LA with a single mom, then bounced around in street gangs and committed some petty crimes, but not the murder. He was forgiving enough to support the district attorney politically, whom he says was doing his job.
The ABC News story is called “From Prosperity to Millions: a man wrongfully accused of murder turns misfortune into millions,” by Mary Fulginiti, Lynn Redmond, and Sylvia Johnson, link here.
Another story, by Bob Brown, is about the mother of a murder victim who made a statement of forgiveness in an Canton, Ohio courtroom, “I was not going to let this destroy me: face to face with her daughter’s murderer, will a mother ask for forgiveness or revenge?” link here.
Another story concerned journalist David Holthouse, who was abused when growing up as a boy in Alaska. Decades later, he discovered that his abuser was living nearby in Denver. He planned to kill him, but then his childhood diary. He knew he could never carry out the plan and not be a suspect, so he changed his heart and had a meeting. He said he would forgive his assailant conditionally it the assailant’s claim that he was the only childhood victim were factually true. The story is by Chris Connelly, “Revenge not taken, the better path?” link here.
ABC broke this 20/20 show into separate stories online. You can find the stories now under the 20/20 link on the web page, although they will eventually displace.
We all remember, of course, that Shakespeare’s Hamlet is about revenge, and has speeches as to whether honor requires it.
The Biblical idea of "kingdom economics" depends on forgiveness, and is critical of the way the western debt economy works. A typical reference is "America in the Kingdom Parables," article by C.O. Stadslkev, "The Parable on Forgiveness," Matthew 18:23-35, about a debtor who does not continue the chain of forgiveness, link here. Islam, remember, does not allow formal interest at all because of Koranic teachings regarding debt.
It’s important that wrongs be fully explained publicly. One should not be expected to “hide” or cover up the commission of a past wrong just for the comfort of others.