We are sitting with Desmond Tutu in the Mystic Activists this month. His writings are mentoring us as we wrestle with the tough questions of reconciliation and forgiveness. I find my heart stirring anew as I listen to this deeply humble man who lives what he speaks and writes.
As the archbishop of the Anglican church in South Africa, Desmond Tutu chaired the truth and reconciliation commission, at the request of newly elected Nelson Mandela. This was a major change from how war crimes had been handled since World War II. It allowed victims to tell their stories. It invited perpetrators to tell their stories. Truth is the only starting point to true reconciliation.
Desmond Tutu says, “The problem with letting bygones be bygones is that they dont stay bygones. They will return to haunt you…Forgive and forget says….What happened in your case either didn’t happen or it doesn’t matter” (D.T. On forgiveness)
It has been my experience that the road to healing is the road back. Far from keeping me stuck in the past, it frees me more and more to live boldly today. But deep courage is required to know, really know, my story. It is only from that place of knowing that true forgiveness, or release from my right to revenge, can occur. Its not a one time deal. Thats why it is called the work of forgiveness.
I wonder, where is the invitation for you today? I am wrestling it another layer deeper. Because it matters.
There can be no true reconciliation without it. And we are desperately needing that in our community. But even if reconciliation is not possible, if both sides are not willing to enter this work; it matters.
It matters for my heart to be free.