MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – Joining us this morning is Charlotte Greene with Bethel AME Church in Mobile. Greene talks about forgiveness and how it relates to racial reconciliation.
Chad: What is forgiveness?
Guest: For me the act of releasing from the head and heart matters of hurt caused by another.
Chad: How does forgiveness work in the context of reconciliation?
Guest: I believe it opens the door for reconciliation. Because with forgiveness I release the hurt and am not bitter or vengeful and only requires me to choose to do so. Reconciliation requires both parties to be at the table. When you think of God reconciling the world to himself he pardon our sins to do so. And so you cannot reconcile without the heart be ready to receive. And forgiveness releasing any bitterness, anger or hate that would block reception.
Chad: How does one forgive but also seek justice?
Guest: Justice plays a important role of for the believer. MIcah reminds us in 6: 8 to DO JUSTICE, LOVE MERCY AND WALK HUMLY BEFORE GOD. When we see injustices around us it truly is incumbant upon to do as much as we can to bring about justice. Generally exposing injustice cast light on darkness and some level of wickeness great or small. Being and advocate for justice does not mean you have not forgiven. Just as there are consequences for sin there are consequences for sin injustices. For example when Anthony Thompson the husband of one of the victims in the Emanuel Church shooting forgave Dylan Roof, he still served time for his crime. When we are advocating for justice it not necessarily to cause punishment for the injust as much as it is to ensure that the injust is rectified and not repeated. And if the injust has broken the law, serving time may come as a result of the crime.
Chad: How can withholding forgiveness become toxic?
Guest: John Hopkins Medicine website there is an article entitled, Forgiveness: your health depends on it. It goes on to say unforgiveness causes stress and high blood pressure. We tend to forget that unforgiveness only affect the one who is holding on to the hurt. THe other party is free to go about living their lives as they do and the injured party is still stuck in the moment of the pain. Bishop John Rucyahana from Rwanda, lost relatives during the Rwanda genocide and he says he unforgiveness is you building a prison around the hurt and requries you to maintain it. which means you have to constantly nurse the hurt causing you to be stuck while the rest of the world goes on.