Read the whole thing here. Mr. Chetwynd, allow me to salute you. That was a masterpiece of forgiveness and a clear teaching of the foundations of civility and civilization. Seriously. Thank you. Your letter reminds me very much of a hero of mine, Corrie Ten Boom.
Corrie lost nearly all her family in Ravensbrück and at the brutal hands of the SS. She held her sister Besty as she died in Ravensbrück, thought murderous thoughts at the female guard who beat Betsy. Before she left the concentration camp, released by a fluke of paperwork (read God’s gracious intervention), Corrie came to understand that there is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still. Later, after the war, Corrie was speaking her song of forgiveness and courage in the face of horror and pain around the world. At the end of one talk she was confronted by one of the guards who had abused Corrie, her sister and countless others, coming to ask her forgiveness, to tell her that he had repented and become a believer. Corrie struggled to forgive this man, struggled to make herself take his hand. She did repent of her unforgiveness, hardness of heart.
It was not for her ancestors that Corrie’s righteous and unrighteous rage was boiling, it was for her, her family, the people around her. How do you forgive the person who beat a friend to death with a rifle butt in front of your very eyes? With the help of the Almighty and a will to do the right thing.
I do not contest the history of this country in regards to the abuse and degradation perpetrated against black men, women and children. But that is in the past. The vast majority of people living here are not descendants of slave traders, owners, abusers. It is time to forgive, to start fresh, to believe that “Typical White People” don’t exist. We are not a homogeneous mass of faceless, soulless abusers. Rachel Lucas is right, you want equality – take it, but to do that, Rev. Wright, Sen Obama, you must forgive the past and release your ‘right’ to be angry forever.
Hat tip to the Lovely Dana for the Chetwynd letter. Dana, you rock, do you know that?