Wow, what a week! Just when we thought things might be getting better in race relations, our world was turned upside down again when Mr. Cho decided for whatever reason to go on a killing rampage. And right now the news media is asking all of the questions that go through our minds: Why was he allowed to be among people? Why wasn't the school more attentive? Why did it take an hour to notify the rest of the school? How could he have gotten those guns so easily? What can we do to stop these kinds of things?
These questions and many others are hard questions. There are no really easy answers. The way they are asked, sort of demands that someone must be responsible. Then we hear that the tragic Mr. Cho was bullied as a child and we wonder how much that played a part in his decision. Obviously there are some truths in all of the answers and then even more questions. It is interesting that I haven't heard the usual one, how could God allow this to happen? I am sure some folks are asking that question. It too is a legitimate one. And like the others, there isn't an easy answer.
I want to ask another question and it should also be on all our minds: Can we forgive Mr. Cho or even should we? Wow, that's also loaded. Well, as a pastor, I know I am supposed to say that we should forgive him. And as a Christian, I do agree that those who are the survivors and family members should also work on forgiving him. After all, that is what Jesus calls us to do and that he encouraged us to do. But as a human being, I know deep in my heart, how difficult that would be.
Forgiveness isn't something that should be done easily. In most cases, forgiveness can come only when the offender makes some kind of amends, even if it is only asking for forgiveness. But even in the asking we expect the person to offer real, heartfelt remorse. Last week, Don Imus offered his apology and asked for forgiveness for hurting the ladies of the Rutgers Basketball Team. His request seemed heartfelt and sincere. But Mr. Cho is dead and his deeds were so much more horrendous.
I can't tackle all of the aspects of forgiveness in one column. I mainly want to say that forgiveness is about letting go. Letting go of the anger and the hatred. Forgiveness is not about rebuilding a relationship but about your own personal healing. If the victims of these horrible crimes focus the rest of their lives on hating Mr. Cho, they will become bitter and will harm themselves. If they can focus on the goodness of their loved ones and the good memories they have of them, then they can be healed through this terrible experience.
I am not suggesting that this would be an easy thing to do or a quick thing to do. I am only suggesting that forgiveness is about healing. God has asked us all to forgive even as we ask for forgiveness. So I invite you to join me in praying for these victims of this horrible event. And I also ask that you pray for Mr. Cho's family as they also grieve what their son did and his death too. Let us pray for healing in even the worst of events.
Would you like to talk about it? come on by the church. We meet every week and would love to talk with you about the importance of forgiveness. Allen