Letters to the Editor

Mercy and forgiveness will correct society’s ills

Wednesday, October 10, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

Most of us above a certain age grew up in church. I am told by someone in the know that church attendance, and by extension, Sunday School attendance is not as universal as it once was. Many young people do not have the tradition that my generation grew up with. What are the consequences of the absence of this particular socialising?

Church taught us forgiveness, that is, turning the other cheek. Church taught us mercy — giving someone something that they do not deserve. Church taught us how to live well with our neighbour and to treat our neighbours as ourselves. These are attributes that, along with family and school, made our society what it was.

Mercy and forgiveness are words that are not in common use anymore. Anyone can be forgiven for asking: Who even uses these words anymore? Let me tell your about those two words, because their absence from ordinary language is where a lot of our troubles begin.

Forgiveness is the only way that we can move forward; forgiveness is the only way to get over the pain, and forgiveness is the only way to work towards a successful end for all, because forgiveness allows us to move beyond the hurt that gets in the way. I suppose now I could burst into scripture, but I want to reach out to all: forgiveness is beyond the Bible. It is life. When a man steps on your toes in the bus and cursing and fighting begin, what’s that about? Forgiveness moves us beyond the fight to the place where we can say “It’s OK, boss man.”

The thing is, forgiveness cannot work without mercy. Mercy is that part of the structure where the offender gets a response which does not match the action. Shakespeare wrote about it, in the Merchant of Venice. Through the character Portia, Shakespeare basically told us that mercy does not benefit only the receiver, but also the giver. Mercy is not only biblical; it works for us, for our society.

What does this have to do with anything? Simply this: no amount of fixing the judicial system, or more police or more equipment will fix our society. We the citizens of this country have to show mercy and forgive. Vigilante action and revenge killing serve no other cause other than the continuation of the mayhem. Mercy and forgivenesss will do it.

Christopher Givans







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