Thoughts on Invictus: Part 2

In my last post I wrote about Nelson Mandela and his belief that the way to healing was not through revenge, but through forgiveness. This type of forgiveness is not conditional on apology, for an apology would never be offered.  It is an act of free unconditional grace, where revenge is foresworn and the damage is borne by the one who has been hurt.  We say that grace is free and unconditional, but there is also a pain in grace.  In his latest blog entry Baxter Kruger speaks of the “pain of grace.

“To be gracious is to hurt,

for it is not merely to wink at a problem,

but to enter into it and bear it personally,

to endure it, in love and mercy and patience.”

Mandela personified grace, healing and reconciliation.  He practiced what he preached.  As a result of his example and influence South Africa set up the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” in an attempt to heal the abiding wounds of Apartheid.

Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution.

The TRC, the first of the nineteen held internationally to stage public hearings, was seen by many as a crucial component of the transition to full and free democracy in South Africa. Despite some flaws, it is generally (although not universally) thought to have been successful. [Wikipedia, s.v. “Truth and Reconciliation Commission (South Africa)”]

Coming Up: When a political leader models grace and reconciliation it is a rare gift to a country. In my next post I will talk about the recent film Invictus and how the story of the movie brings themes of forgiveness to life.

January 20, 2010. Tags: , . Food For Thought.

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