Our church’s Lenten Bible study this year was about the Apostles’ Creed. It was a yeasty conversation over topics such as the representation of God as Father. One part reads “I believe in the…forgiveness of sins”. By that, one might assume God forgiving sins, but I think it also has as much to do with us forgiving the sins/debts/trespasses (to site another well-known Christian prayer) of each other.
Today being Good Friday, I’m also reminded of Ruby Bridges, a six-year old black girl who desegregated the schools in New Orleans in November 1960, who you will recognize from a famous painting by Norman Rockwell. To survive the attacks she received daily as she walked to school, and where only one of her white teachers would teach her, she said a prayer which her mother had taught her. Robert Coles, then the child psychiatrist who volunteered to work with Ruby and her family, asked her one day what she was mumbling as she walked through that crowd. She famously told him she was saying this prayer, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This of course echoes one of the seven last words of Jesus on the cross.
Thus, it is in that spirit that I have decided that I need to forgive someone. It has to be someone for whom I have had a great deal of enmity in the past, lest it not be meaningful. So, I’ve decided to forgive George W. Bush.
I forgive George W. Bush for:
*gutting environmental initiatives
*instituting a wide variety of surveillance programs
*signing the USA (so-called)PATRIOT Act (H.R. 3162)
*the unjustified invasion of Iraq in 2003
*the poor handling of the Hurricane Katrina crisis
*the lack of fiscal regulations that has led to the current recession
*and all the rest of it
Understand, I haven’t forgotten. But I’m doing this for me, not for him. I need to let go of my anger.
Maybe someday I’ll even forgive his vice-president – or maybe not. Certainly, I’m not there yet.