Right after the massacre in Charleston last week, the first TV clip I saw was the prosecutor ranting on about how she was going to make sure that boy would get the death sentence. Of course. It’s what people say after events like this.
Very soon afterwards, however, came the clip of a family member of one of those who died, looking at the boy in the eyes and saying “I forgive you.”
In that instant everything changed. The energy shifted. That someone was able to forgive became the great news story of the week, and it dominated the discussion on all the Sunday talk shows. It even trumped the gun issue. If you followed the story, and saw the effect that this single act had on those in the church, and those who watched it on TV, I don’t know how you could ever doubt the power of forgiveness to heal the world.
How could anyone watch that and witness the love and spirit of oneness being expressed in that church and not feel a twang of shame for having had the usual knee-jerk reaction that demands harsh punishment, eye-for-an-eye justice and revenge, without it ever coming to mind that forgiveness is a better option?
Everyone was humbled by that woman’s grace and compassion, but she was not the only voice for forgiveness. There were many. I was particularly touched by words spoken by a woman who had lost someone in the massacre and was clearly deep in grief. Through her tears she said, “I know that there are a lot of people here who have been able to forgive him, but I’m not there yet. I’ll get there eventually, but I just can’t. Not yet.”
However, she was WILLING to forgive, and that is all that matters. Spirit does the rest. She will get there, I have no doubt about that. Willingness is the key.
So what is the lesson for us here? First and foremost, we need to recognize that the boy’s action and thought processes that fed his hatred for black people was a mirror for us all. The issue of the deep-seated hatred of those of African-American descent by the white race has to be faced head-on. And boy, didn’t this kid rub our noses in the dirt? He made us look at ourselves and confront our ugliness and challenge our denial.
This hatred, born out of our shame for having supported the evil crime of slavery for so long, exists deep in the shadow of all Americans. As well as those who, like me, have lived here long enough to be contaminated by it. Until we come to terms with it, talk it through, and eventually heal it, there will be many others who will poke us with another sharp stick to force us to wake the f_____ up, just like this kid did for us.
Secondly, we received a powerful demonstration of how one person forgiving can change the course of events, and perhaps even change history. This is why we have created a special worksheet for applying Radical Forgiveness to world events like this one. It’s called the Radical Transformation worksheet.
Click here to download one now and join with the lady who forgave Dylann Roof by adding your vibration to that or any other cause ‘out there,’ you feel strongly about. I believe that Radical Forgiveness is the only way we are going to heal the racial divide, and this incident may well have provided an impetus for us to jump start it. Let’s do it.