Two stories in the Canadian news have touched on the theme of forgiveness lately. The first one is about a very well known, and well liked, local priest named Joe Leclair who was secretly stealing money from his church. He was scheduled to marry me and my wife until this scandal was exposed. He has now served time in jail, was released on good behavior, and given another job with the church in New Brunswick. Check out the story here.
The second story is about those Dalhousie Dentistry students who created a facebook page and made misogynistic comments about their classmates. According to the news stories the students are very remorseful for their actions. The 6 women who were the target of their comments said they didn’t want they offenders segregated from their class and added that they feel safe with the 12 offenders back in the class as they undergo a restorative process. As a result the suspension of these 12 students was lifted and they were re-integrated with their class. Check out that story here.
We forgive because we all do things that need forgiving. There is no perfect human that has not negatively impacted another human in some way. We have all been in the wrong about something. The extent of our mistakes is often linked to a life situation that we have little control over. We did not choose our parents, we did not choose the values they taught us, we did not choose the struggles we may have, we did not choose our genetic characteristics, and we did not choose who are neighbors are.
Saying this is not meant to absolve these instances of unconscious action but to open the door to forgiveness. We all must suffer the consequences of such action. But when you forgive someone you are telling them that they are still worthy of the light that shines within.